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l IKYJMWI 09 M " *#' **0- 

in u, UIJHAMY 

D DD01 035^315 6 



Also by 
J. 0. P. BLAND 


(J. 0. P, Bland and K, ttittiklunttie) 

CHINA (191**) 


(,/. 0, P, Bland and ft, au-A'/nmyJ 





J. 0. P. BLAND 



Printed in Grtat Brfttla 



I Introductory I 

II The Washington Conference and After 8 

III The Influence of the Cantonese 26 

IV The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 43 
V The Missionary Factor 69 

VI China's Modern Students 113 

VII East and West; Can China be Westernised? 137 

VIII China in Recent Literature 154 

IX The "F.O, School of Thought" 176 

X Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 198 

XI The Anatomy of Idealism in Politics 217 

XII The Question of Manchuria 232 

XIII Geneva and the Far East 262 

XIV Is there a Red Peril in China? 273 
XV A Survey of Realities 285 

XVI Conclusion 325 

Index 353 

I desire to thank the Editors of the English 
Review for their courtesy m allowing me to reprint 
certain passages from articles contributed to that 

journal at various dates since 1925; also for the 
encouragement which I have continually received 
at their hands in setting forth views, in regard to 
the course of events in the Far East, which the 
exigencies of our political circumstances have com- 
bined to make unfashionable and sometimes un- 
palatable Sn official circles. 

I have also to thank the Editors of the Literary 
Supplement of The Times y of the National Review 
and the Atlantic Monthly , for permission to repro- 
duce certain extracts from articles originally pub- 
lished in their columns, 

J, 0. P. BLAND, 



THE purpose of this book is to describe and discuss the 

forces and tendencies which have chiefly determined the 
course of events in China since the Washington Con- 
ference of 1921, It is not intended to give any detailed 

chronological account of these events, but rather to set 
forth and interpret the dominant causes and results of 
the anarchical condition of affairs at present existing. 
In two earlier works, as some of my readers may re- 
collect, I endeavoured to esqplain the permanent causes 
of unrest which are inseparable from China's deep- 
rooted social system, and my grounds for the belief, 
which the passing years have fortified, that a democratic 
or parliamentary form of government is wholly inap- 
plicable to the actual condition of the Chinese people. 
In the first of those works^ were summarised the causes, 
economic and political, which had combined to create 
the situation in which a comparatively insignificant anti- 
dynastic movement succeeded in compelling the abdica- 
tion, of the Manchus and in establishing the Chinese 
Republic The secondf contained a brief survey of the 
first ten years of the Republic, tracing the growth of 
civil war as a profession and the rapid demoralisation 
of the civil administmtion of the country resulting from 
the of any effective central authority. 

The opinions expressed in the second of these attempts 

* m$ Pmsmt P0lid$$ in China, (Hememann, 1912.) 

t CM**, Japan m4 Km^ (HMnenuwn, 1921.) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

to analyse the forces at work and their probable results 
were generally regarded at the time of their publication, 
coincident with the Washington Conference^ as unjusti- 
fiably pessimistic. Belief in the regenerative influence of 
Western learning was at that time the dominant factor 
in determining the attitude of the Powers, which found 
expression in the Washington agreements. The policy 
of patient conciliation^ thereby inaugurated, was based 
on the assumption that the new class of Chinese official 
which had come to the front since the Revolution, the 
Western-educated Intellectuals, was capable of bringing 
order out of chaos and giving China, within a compara- 
tively brief space of time, a stable and effective govern- 
ment, organised on Western lines* The widespread 
acceptance of this assumption was due to the on 

public opinion of Kuomintang propaganda and to the 
great influence exercised in political circles, in America 
and England, by the great missionary and educational 
organisations. The assumption itself, as events have 
proved and must continue to prove, was fallacious; it 
was inspired by optimistic idealism and sympathies of a 
kind which persistently ignored the structural character 
of the people to whom they were applied, 

Thei reasons which prevented me from accepting the 
belief that a New Era had dawned for China with the 
new-born Republic, were expressed, shortly after the 
abdication of the Monarchy, as follows; 

Remembering the ancestry ^and genesis of Young China, 
being personally acquainted with many of its leading spirits, 

having followed its operations and activities in every province 
from the beginning of the present Revolution, I am compelled 
to the conviction that salvation from this quarter is impos- 
sible, not only became Young China itself Is unregencrate 
and undisciplined, but because its ideals md projects of 
ernment involve the creation 1 ' of a new social and political 

structure utterly unsuited to the character and traditions of 

the race; because It is contrary to all experience that a people 
cut olF from its deep-rooted beliefs ana habits of life should 

develop and retain a vigorous national consciousness. 

This was written in 1912. A decade later, at the 
Washington Conference, the aims and claims of China's 

diplomatic delegates had notably increased in bold 
assertiveness^ not because of any visible progress 
achieved in the matter of a stable and effective govern- 
ment;, but because the Great War had placed the 
United States in a position to take the lead in Far 
Eastern affairs and made the exhausted European 
Powers instinctively inclined towards a policy of laissez- 
faint and optimistic idealism in that region. Neverthe- 
less, the course of events in China during the first ten 
years of the Republic was of a nature to demonstrate the 
truth that the Chinese people are neither fitted nor 
anxious for the exercise of self-government j unfor- 
tunately, the Powers chiefly concerned were not in a 
position to devote their attention to the increasingly 
grievous plight of the inarticulate Chinese masses* 
During a survey of the actual situation in 1921, carried 
out on the eve of the Washington Conference, I could 
find no reason for abandoning or modifying the opinion 
above quoted. On the contrary,, observation of the 
forces and tendencies at work, from Canton to Chihli, 
led me, after carefully reviewing them, to amplify it, 
in the following words:* 

Blinder existing conditions, therefore, a democratic 
form of government, as understood in Europe and 
America, is impossible in China, To encourage the 'Small 
minority of foreign-educated Intellectuals who profess 
to wish to apply it can only result in making unrest, 

a t p, 28. 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

civil war and brigandage widespread and endemic^ in- 
stead of local and epidemic," 

At the present juncture, the disorganisation of China's 
civil administration, the aggressive chauvinism of her 
politidans and students, and the inefficiency of her 
military forces, all combine to create a situation which 
threatens once again, by fomenting international 
suspicions and racial jealousies, to involve other nations 
in her troubles, 

The moment seems opportune therefore to review 
the course of events during the last ten years and to 
draw from it such further conclusions as may be justifi- 
able. I do not propose to burden the reader with any 
biographical list of the war-lords and politicians, whose 
short-lived triumphs and defeats have punctuated the 
monotonous history of these years, but rather to direct 
attention to the fundamental realities which lie beyond 
the stage on which these actors strut and fret their little 
hour. My chief purpose now y as in the earlier works 
that I have cited, is to emphasise the duty of reparation 
which, as I see it, the Western world owes to the oldest 
civilisation of the East} to contribute something to the 
formation of a public opinion, whereby the conscience 
of the civilised world, which finds expression in the 
League of Nations, may be led to desist from experi- 
ments in political idealism and to apply measures of a 
practical humanitarianism,with a view to putting an end 
to the long-drawn sufferings of the Chinese people. If 
there be any element of sincerity behind the eloquent 
professions of goodwill towards China recorded by the 
signatories to the Washington agreements^ anything 
vitally humane in the counsels of idealism proclaimed 
by the leaders of liberal thought In this country and 



America,, the pitiful spectacle now presented by the 

Chinese people, reduced to depths of misery by oppres- 
sive misrule since 1921, should lead the Anglo-Saxon 
race to display more concern for their unhappy fate and 
less for the vain doctrines of racial equality and ineffec- 
tive sovereignty. Forsaking the futile phrases of con- 
ventional formulas, the civilised world should concern 
itself in China, while there is yet time, with the realities, 
with the Weightier matters of the law, judgment, 
mercy and truth." 

As we look back over the course of events in China 
since the beginning of the century, we must, I think, 
admit that the chief cause of the rapid demoralisation 
of the body politic has been the sudden substitution of 
western learning for the old classical system of national 
education in 1905* The collapse of the Manchu dynasty 
in 1912 was probably inevitable, because its leaders had 
lost the capacity, and even the will, to govern} but the 
subsequent dislocation of the whole machinery of 
government by the Revolution need not have been so 
serious or so protracted had the overthrow of the central 
authority not been preceded by the abolition of the 
social and moral restraints of the Confucian system, 
The violent indiscipline and chronic unrest displayed 
by the new generation of scholars, who have replaced 
the old-type literati^ undoubtedly constitute one of the 
chief factors in the nations present dangers and dis- 
abilities, and these beyond all question are direct results 
of the forceful intrusion of the western world upon 
China's patriarchal civilisation, of the introduction of 
disruptive forces, which that civilisation could not resist, 
and of political ideas which could not possibly be adapted 
to its deep-rooted social system* 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

In the course of his career of conquests and invasions, 
since the Genoese navigators opened up the highways 
of the sea to maritime adventures, the triumphant 
white man has inflicted many grievous pains and 
penalties, in the sacred names of religion and progress, 
upon red men and black and brown, who could not cope 
with his man-killing devices- Looked at in this light, 
the lamentable results of the impact of the West upon 
the ancient civilisation of China are part of a process of 
evolution, which became inevitable when first the active 
self-helping races of Europe came into direct contact 
with the passive non-resisting races of Asia. But the 
Chinese, by reason of their vast numbers, of their 
economic efficiency, and their peculiar qualities of 
mental solidarity and physical endurance, have re- 
peatedly proved in the past their ability to endure pro- 
longed periods of alien domination or internal 
without impairing their national cohesion or the founda- 
tions of their philosophy. That the race will m 
find an issue out of its present afflictions cannot be 
doubted, but the length of time required,, and the 
amount of suffering which the masses must endure in 
the meanwhile, are matters in great measure dependant 
upon the collective wisdom and goodwill of the Powers 
chiefly concerned, upon their sympathetic 
of the Chinese people's real needs, and upon the sub- 
stitution of realism for idealism in conceiting 
to protect their helplessness through the 
period of adjustment and reconstruction* 

Generally speaking, the scope of this work is con-* 
fined to the statement and eiamination of the 
important features of the China problem! with 
reference to their development during the past ten 


and to their effect upon the present and future well- 
being of the Chinese people. It contains, therefore^ 
little or no reference to a number of events which, at 
the time of their occurrence, loomed large in the world's 
Press, events such as the Shanghai student riot incident 
of May, 1925, the murderous attacks on Europeans at 
Nanking in March, 1927, and Japan's military inter- 
vention in Shantung in 1928. Nor does it contain any 
account of the various phases of the civil wars which 
have devastated the country during this period, or of 
the diplomatic negotiations which have taken place be- 
tween the Kuomintang Government and the represen- 
tatives of the various Treaty Powers, with regard to 
tariff autonomy, the administration of justice at 
Shanghai^ the abolition of extra-territoriality, the retro- 
cession of the Foreign Settlements, the Government of 
Manchuria and other kindred subjects* Any detailed 
consideration of these subjects is omitted, for the reason 
that, regarded against the dark background of China's 
current history, they are all essentially transient^ and 
of secondary importance each in its way being an in- 
cidental result,, and at the same time a symptom, of 
organic disease in the body politic. It is the main purpose 
of this book to examine into the abiding causes and 
results of this organic disease, to show how its symptoms 
have recently been aggravated by unwise treatment, 
unsuitcd to the constitution of the patient; and finally, 
to consider whether, things being as they are, it is 
possible to apply any remedial measures, calculated to 
afford temporary alleviation of the patient's sufferings, 
and to give time for the beginnings of the social re- 
organisation, whereby alone the nation can be restored 
to the condition of an organised State. 



"Behold, my son, with how little wisdom the world is 
governed/ 7 Oxenstiern* 

THE significance of the Washington Conference was 
twofold. It was, in the first placeman outward and visible 
sign of the American nation's consciousness of its new 
role of predominance in world affairs; in the second 
place, it inaugurated a new alignment of the Powers, in 
substitution for that of the Anglo-Japanese alliance, 
pledged under American initiative, to a policy of non- 
interference and patient conciliation in China, Although 
its primary purpose was the limitation of naval arma- 
ments, it was apparent from the outset that the chief 
objective of the United States Government was to 
secure a settlement of the Far Eastern situation* In the 
end, the main result of the Conference was that Great 
Britain and the Dominions gave their tacit approval 
to a policy which was manifestly intended to put a etfeck 
on Japanese expansion on the Asiatic mainland. The 
effect of the Treaties and Agreements signed by the 
four and nine Powers respectively concerned^ was prac- 
tically an intimation to the world in general, and to 
Japan in particular^ of America's intention to 
a moral guardianship over China and, by virtue thereof, 
to challenge Japan's position of ascendancy in Man- 
churia and Mongolia, The contracting Powers bound 
themselves "to provide the fullest and most 
harassed opportunity to China to develop and main- 


The Washington Conference and After 

tain for herself an effective and stable government," 

and this pledge was accompanied by pious resolutions, 

expressing the sympathetic readiness of the Powers to 
withdraw their armed forces from China and to remove 
"immediately, or as soon as circumstances will permit, 

existing limitations upon China j s political, jurisdictional 
and administrative freedom of action," 

For those who were not carried away by political or 
religious enthusiasms, the policy imposed by these 
Washington agreements was inherently impracticable 
and bound to defeat its own ends. It was a policy which 
could only hope to succeed, and be justified^ on the 
assumption that, by adopting the formulse of demo- 
cracy and a framework of progressive institutions, the 
Intellectuals and Modernists of Young China could 
create in the Chinese masses not only a desire, but the 
capacity for self-government on western lines. It in- 
volved, moreover, the further assumption that these 
westernised Intellectuals did in fact represent, as they 
claimed, a united and effective government a govern- 
ment not only able, but ready, to maintain law and 
order, and to administer justice in accordance with the ' 
practice of modern civilisation. The fallacious nature 
of these assumptions was sufficiently obvious to every- 
one possessing direct knowledge of the actual condition 
of China and her rulers* 

In so far as England was concerned, the policy im- 
posed by the Washington agreements involved the tacit 
acceptance of these tssumptionsj at the same time, it 
necessitated attempts to purchase China's goodwill by 
graceful concessions, in order to conciliate that of 
America, It was a policy of dangerous experiments 
which, as events have proved, was bound to sacrifice 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

the interests of our Far Eastern commerce and some- 
thing of our self-respect, in the hope of creating and 
consolidating new bonds of amity between the English- 
speaking peoples. It was a policy, perhaps inevitable, 
in view of the political and economic changes which the 
Great War had made in the international situation and 
which found justification of expediency in the minds of 
those who initiated and directed it, on the principle 
that wisdom lies in sacrificing the lesser to the greater 
end. But as regards its avowed central purpose, that 
of enabling China to develop and maintain for herself 
an effective and stable government, and thus eliminat- 
ing a source of constant danger to the world's peace, 
it was a policy which, as the passing years have proved, 
was foredoomed to futility. Moreover, there was every 
reason to anticipate that the ultimate course of strife- 
namely, rivalry for a position of advantage in the Far 
Eastern markets, would not only remain untouched but 
would probably be aggravated as the result of the 
laissez-faire regime imposed by the Washington treaties 
and resolutions* The Far Eastern problem remains to- 
day, as it was at the beginning of the century, the 
problem of the Sick Man of Asia, whose dwindling 
estate of sovereignty is only preserved from spoliation 
by the jealous rivalries of claimants in waiting* 

The atmosphere in which the Conference was held, 
the tone of its deliberations and the nature of its find- 
ings reflected three distinct, but for the moment con- 
verging^ influences. These were, in the first place, the 
influence of the traditional, unswerving national policy 
which, through successive administrations, has 
asserted and jealously safeguarded American 
in the Far Eastj secondly^ the influence of American 


The Washington Conference and After 

pacific idealism in politics^ chiefly manifested on this 
occasion by the Women's League for Peace and Free- 
dom, the missionary and educational societies and other 
similar organisations; and thirdly, the influence of 
China's skilfully organised and widespread political 
propaganda. The combined effect of these influences 
was to manoeuvre Japan (and with her the Anglo- 
Japanese Alliance) into the position of a defendant, 
confronted by an Assembly in which, beneath the con- 
ventions of international courtesy, an undercurrent of 
moral censure was ever perceptible. 

On the surface, the procedure of the Conference was 
marked by sweet reasonableness and devotion to the 
ideals of the new post-war era, in which "harmonious 
and friendly co-operation" was to take the place of 
competitive rivalry. The delegates were invited by Mr* 
Secretary Hughes to approach the solution of their 
problems a with the full consciousness that they were 
working in the service of mankind*** Mr. President 
Harding, setting forth the achievements of the Confer- 
ence in an eloquent peroration, rejoiced that these had 
been supreme* "because no cause of conflict had been 
sown; no reaction in regret or resentment can ever 
justify resort to arms, The very atmosphere has shamed 
national selfishness into retreat" Mr. Frank Simonds, 
whose knowledge of foreign affairs and politics places 
him in the front rank of American journalists, declared, 
nevertheless, his opinion that, in seeking to revitalise 
the principal of the "open door/ 7 Mr. Hughes was actu- 
ally asserting a moral guardianship over China and de- 
finitely limiting Japanese expansion in the only direction 
left open to them by the Asiatic Exclusion Acts of the 
Anglo-Saxon world a policy which, according to every 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

historical precedent, must inevitably lead to war, sooner 

or later. But such was the atmosphere created f or y and 
by, the Conference, that Mr. $imonds*s voice was that 
of one crying in a wilderness of complacent optimism, 
Mr. Senator Lodge summed up the results of the Con- 
ference from the practical politician's point of view, by 
observing that its success was chiefly due to the fact that 
its scope was strictly limited to matters of immediate 
concern to the United States, 

Inasmuch as Americans Far Eastern policy has now 
become the paramount factor in the immediate and 
future problems of that region, let us briefly consider 
the genesis, tendencies and implications of that policy. 

Imprimis, we are confronted by the anomalous fact 
that, while excluding all European political iflu4 
ences and activities from the American continent and 
all Asiatic immigration into the United States, while 
declining to share the White Man's post-war burdens* 
at Versailles and Geneva^ and insisting upon complete 
aloofness from European affairs, the of 

Washington should have been in a position to sponsor, 
and direct an international conference* clearly intended 
to place the Far Eastern question upon a new 
determined in advance by America's conception of its< 
nature and needs. Needless to say, the explanation of 
this peculiar combination of circumstances lies in the 
fact that national policies are not inspired by 
consistency but by the fundamental instinct of survival, 
which compels those who direct these to 

and preserve national security, and future, by 

* According to the evidence, on iwttl 

'Official Wogyams as set forth in Tkt by 

Captain Yardley of the American tit* irst III 

"Buiflc" Coafrc w* by Lwl Cuntm. 


The Washington Conference and After 

all means and at all costs. Thus regarded, the tradi- 
tional policy of Americans statesmen since the days of 
President Monroe, is revealed as not only natural but 
necessary^ wholly consistent in its unchanging purposes 
^though often inconsistent in the manner of their pre- 
i . sentment Tracing the development of this policy, we 
observe that) almost at the same time that President 
^Monroe declared that America's interests necessitated 
^ complete detachment from the affairs of Europe, Wash- 
f^ngtori ''Despatched its first envoy to the East to make 
^treaties ol\peace and goodwill with Annam and Siam. 
Next came Vie mission of Caleb Gushing, who nego- 
tiated the first American Treaty with China (1844); 
and thereafter, the opening of Japan to the western 
world by Commodore Perry and his squadron. Under 
VjPresident McKinley, America became possessed of the 
^Philippines. Mr, Roosevelt, in his turn, manifested 
^America's continuity of interest in the affairs of Asia by 
flffltitervening as peacemaker at the close of the Russo-- 
Japanese war. Thereafter followed a period of diplo- 
Jjmtic manoeuvres, during which America's statesmen, 
confronted first by the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and 
fyhen by the Russo-Japanese mtmt&) were content to 
JjRtark time, reiterating? whenever occasion offered, their 
(^adherence to the principles of the "open door" and 
0sequal opportunity, without insisting upon their imme- 
diate or too rigid application,* 

With the Great War came, on the one hand, Japan's 
opportunity to advance her outposts and consolidate 
her position on the Asiatic mainland j at the same time, 

* In hto tetter of a7th February, 193** to Senator Bwafc on U.S. 

wlley in China, Mr, once again declares Americas 

upon ttw policy of th "open door'' and refuses to ^cogn^e 
any dtuatkm, trmty or agreement entered into by China or 
violntto of the Warttogton Treaties. 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

there gradually developed an unmistakable foreshadow- 
ing of America's emergence as a great military Power 
and impending domination of the world's economic 
activities. In October, 1916, when both Russia and 
Japan were seizing the opportunity to encroach upon 
China's defenceless territory and ineffective sovereignty, 
the State Department at Washington announced its in- 
tention of reserving consideration of the questions thus 
created until the end of the war, "no matter what 
conditions might arise in China/' contenting itself, for 
the time being, to the collection of information 

It was wholly in accordance with the parochial and 
practical traditions of American statesmanship that, on 
the conclusion of the war y Washington repudiated 
President Wilson's commitments in respect of the 
League of Nations and European "entanglements, w It 
was equally in accordance with the nation's traditional 
policy that, having done so, it should take the lend in 
sponsoring a Conference of the European Powers and 
Japan, to discuss the affairs of the Far East, that 5s to 
say, of the region in which Americans special 
and overseas possessions lie. 

Viewed in this light, the Washington Conference 
emerges as the natural and inevitable conclusion of a 
national policy which, with occasional lapses, may be 
traced back, through successive administrations^ to 
George Washington's definition and justification of 
purely American national interests* As a pro- 

position, it was no more calculated to 
nations than the subsequent manifestation of policy 
which enjoins the necessity for disarmament upon the 
rest of the world while spending more upon military 


The Washington Conference and After 

equipment than any other nation. Yet if, disregarding 
the idealism of internationalism, we face the simple 
truth that the first aim of every statesman must always 
be national security, the men who direct the affairs of 
the United States are manifestly doing their duty, They 
are merely acting upon recognition of the fact that, for 
the great industrial nations, security in the future will 
depend more and more critically upon control of 
markets and raw materials. This, in effect,, was what 
Roosevelt meant when, in 1903, he declared that the 
future of the United States lies in the Pacific A far- 
seeing realist, he perceived that, within the lifetime of 
the present generation, America must be confronted, 
though in a lesser degree than England or Japan, by 
the problem of devising ways and means for selling 
abroad, under increasingly severe competition, enough 
of her industrial products to provide daily bread for 
vast masses of town-dwelling workers who consume, 
but do not produce, food. And the most hopeful solu- 
tion of that problem, as he saw it, lay in preserving 
access to the greatest of undeveloped markets, China,* 

President Harding's action in inviting the Powers to 
confer at Washington may therefore be ascribed to the 
unbroken continuity of an instinctive national policy. 
At the same time, there is justification for the opinion 
recorded by the American Press, that, as regards the 
convening and conduct of the Conference, his action 
was partly influenced by the exigencies of domestic 
politics* A strong element of public opinion, voiced by 
Senator Borah, supported the Conference indeed it 

* f onstidaring the Increasing political Instability of China and its 
condition of economic exhaustion, there appears to be little justification 

for the generally accepted belief that lier undeveloped markets are 
likely to provide important outlets for the congested industries of the 
Went In the future* 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

may have initiated the Administration's actionhoping 

that it might expiate President Wilson's failure to vin- 
dicate American idealism in world politics at Versailles, 

and especially his share of responsibility for the arrange- 
ment which gave to Japan the reversion of German 
rights and privileges in Shantung. This body of public 
opinion, represented to a very large extent by organised 
religious, benevolent and educational societies, such as 
the Federal Council of Churches of Christ, the 
Y.M.C.A., and the Women's League for Peace, dis- 
played as a rule more sentiment than sense in its 
political activities. On the one hand^ for example, it 
urged that America should take the lead in a world 
movement of complete disarmament; on the other^ it 
expected the American Government to protect not only 
China, but Mongolia and Eastern Siberia from Japanese 
aggression. Its widespread influence was chiefly re- 
sponsible for the atmosphere of hostility towards Japan 
which, beneath the euphemisms of statecraft, pervaded 
the proceedings of the Conference j at the same time, it 
displayed its whole-hearted sympathy for the political 
aspirations of Young China^ and an implicit belief in the 
roseate visions of enlightened progress insistently pro- 
claimed by China's official and semi-official propagan- 
dists. I shall have occasion to refer to this of 
the matter again, when considering the position and 
prospects of missionary enterprise in China. For the 
present, suffice it to say that, in so far as 
political idealism at the Conference was by 
missionary and educational influences, it a 
normal tendency, protective of vocational So 
far as the general, uninformed public was it 
naturally responded to the appeal of that highly 


The Washington Conference and After 

element of Young China which professed its fervent 
faith in American ideals and institutions} much of its 
support was instinctively and impulsively given to the 
cause of so intelligent an Bunder-dog." But the sym- 
pathy extended to that cause by the missionary and cul- 
tural organisations undoubtedly represented their pro- 
fessional pride and confidence in the rising generation 
of western-educated Chinese} it was only natural that 
they should sympathise actively with the aspirations of 
their pupils and prot6ges to become the dominant force 
in Chinese politics, Indeed, unless they were prepared 
to confess that all their labour had gone for nought, 
they were bound to profess their unbounded belief in 
the product of western learning, to pin their faith to 
the westernised type of Chinese citizen, upon whose 
evolution they had relied for half a century as the only 
hope of reforming the country's administration upon 
western lines, and providing the material for its "stable 
and effective government*" In saying this, I have no 
desire to suggest that this kind of idealistic optimism is 
peculiar either to Americans,* or to professional "up- 
lifters." We in, England have seen a Manifesto of the 
Labour Party of Great Britain, calling for the with- 
drawal of all armed forces from Chinese territory, at 
the height of the crisis in 1927, and recommending the 
immediate surrender of the Treaty Port Concessions, 
on the ground that "the Chinese Nationalist movement 
is developing Trade Unionism for the benefit of 
Chinese workers," But the initiative of the policy of 
patient conciliation and (as Senator Borah defined it) 
of "rendering such aid to China as may help her to 
real independence/* was essentially American in 
Its origins. England's foreign policy at the time y and 


CHINA; The Pity of It 

until quite recently, was dominated by the cardinal 

principle "that nothing should be done which might 
impair the friendliness of > or give offence to y the United 
States."* In terminating the Anglo- Japanese Alliance 
and in pledging itself to the policy laid down in the 
Washington agreements, the British Government was 
practically admitting one of the first and most 
momentous effects of the changes which the war had 
wrought upon the whole structure of world economics 
and finance.- 

In proclaiming itself at the Washington Conference 
as the inaugurator and promoter of a new dispensation 
of high moral principles in politics^ founded "on peace, 
goodwill and good works/' the State Department un- 
doubtedly represented the political opinion, which, 
since 19x0, had come to regard Japan's ambitions in 
Asia as a potential menace to Americans heritage in the 
Pacific region j it represented also the religious or ttenti- 
mental opinion which supported Young China's 
claims and aspirations* The resultant policy was bound, 
in the nature of things^ to identify itself with benevo- 
lent theories and to shut its eyes to the uncomfortable 
facts of the Far Eastern problem. 

Writing on this subject, shortly before the Con- 
ference ? f I pointed out that, because of these the 
only hope of achieving a satisfactory or permanent 
settlement of the problem lay in an international 
ment for the restoration of law and order in China by 
some concerted action of the Powers; furthermore, 
Americans benevolent ideas of international cooperation 

* Colonel Harvey (American Ambassador In Lwttlott) I th 
American R&vi$w 

f Atlantic Monthly , November, 


The Washington Conference and After 

for China's benefit could only be carried out by means 
of some such action. At that date there was good reason 
to believe that Japan, having everything to gain from 
the restoration of financial and administrative order in 
China;, was prepared to welcome an American-Anglo- 
Japanese which should make this its avowed 
object* Moreover, ^ace the idealists, it was manifestly 
futile, then as now, to talk of restoring the unfettered 
authority of the Chinese Government, by abolishing the' 
foreigners* rights of Consular jurisdiction, until financial 
and administrative measures had been taken to make 
a stable and effective government possible. In other 
words, the Conference provided an opportunity of 
achieving results immediately beneficial to the Chinese 
people and ultimately to the world at large, but only 
on condition that President Harding and his colleagues 
proved more far-seeing than the sentimentalists, and 
strong enough to disregard the Press campaign or- 
ganised on behalf of China by her own official propa- 
gandists, aided by a number of American publicists 
such as Mr. Thomas Millard, Mr. Alexander Powell, 
"Upton Close/' etc., etc. Had the requisite know- 
ledge and resolution been there, the Conference might 
have faced realities and addressed itself to the only 
solution of the Far Eastern problem, namely, a policy 
of self-denying co-operation, by virtue of which the 
Powers concerned might endeavour to arrest the pro- 
gress of disintegration wrought in China by various dis- 
ruptive influences, and most notably by the effects of 
"Western learning." But, as the event proved, the type 
of sentimental idealism which is associated with the 
name of President Wilson was destined to play a 
decisive part in the proceedings and conclusions of the 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

Conference* With consummate skill Chilians diplomatic 
representatives, Mr. Alfred Sze and Mr, Wellington 
Koo, exploited, for the purposes of their government^ 
the body of public opinion organised on their behalf by 

the religious and benevolent societies; with equal skill 
they availed themselves of the jealousies^ rivalries and 
post-war weariness of the commercial Powers. Thus, as 
the policy expounded by Mr Secretary Hughes began to 
assume definite shape and direction, it speedily became 
apparent that the proceedings of the Conference could 
have little or no bearing upon the crucial problem of the 
Far East the increasing disorganisation of China and 
equally evident that their immediate result was to place 
Japan in the position of a defendant at the bar of inter* 
national opinion. 

The energy and ability displayed by the agents and 
publicists of the Kuomintang, in their use of the plat- 
form and Press for purposes of propaganda, proof 
of remarkably intelligent adaptability. The machinery 
and methods adopted for this propaganda revealed an 
accurate perception, not only of the trend of Inter- 
national affairs, but of the exigencies of domestic politics 
in the United States* As this machinery has lately 
brought to an even higher standard of efficiency far use 
at World Conferences especially those of the 
of Nations the manner of its working, and the 
behind it are matters deserving of more than cureory 
attention. With these I propose, therefore, to in a 
later chapter* As far as their activities at 

the Washington Conference are concerned, it is 
to say that the Chinese delegates succeeded In "putting 
across" a glowing picture of a purely imaginary 
Republic, successfully progressing towards orderly 


The Washington Conference and After 

stitutional government by virtue of liberal ideas and 
democratic institutions. In the name of democracy, they 

made eloquent appeal to the sympathies of the western 
world, inviting its moral and material support for an 
imposing programme of wholly visionary reforms. 
Thus was created the atmosphere in which the Confer- 
ence eventually pledged itself to "render such aid to 
China as may help her to secure real independence." The 
realities of the situation were tacitly ignored by all con- 
cerned, united in the determination to regard Messrs. 
Sze and Koo, and the Young China of "western learn- 
ing/ 7 as genuinely representative of the aspirations and 
convictions of the Chinese masses. Thanks chiefly to the 
powerful influence of the religious and educational 
societies, public opinion throughout America (and to a 
considerable extent in England) allowed itself to be 
deluded into the belief that the political activities of 
the Cantonese party represented a genuine awakening 
of national consciousness and constructive patriotism. It 
is a delusion which comes naturally enough,, and grate- 
fully, to those who believe that western education can 
implant in the oriental mind the Anglo-Saxon's stan- 
dards of conduct and religious beliefs, and to those who 
can persuade themselves that the most profoundly con- 
servative of Asiatic races can be persuaded to substitute 
government by laws (of foreign origin) for the gov- 
ernment by human volition, to which it has been accus- 
tomed from time immemorial. 

As far as the Western Powers were concerned, the 
net result of the Conference was to revitalise the prin- 
ciple of the "open door 1 * and equal opportunity, by 
virtue of the Nine Powers Treaty, and in so doing to 
substitute for the Anglo- Japanese Alliance a rearrange- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

ment of policies and Powers in the Far East, wherein 
American leadership was tacitly admitted. As far as 
China was concerned, the result was a personal triumph 
for her diplomatic representatives. They had achieved^ 

once again, the time-honoured object of Chinese state- 
craft by "setting one barbarian against another*' j they 
had succeeded in committing the Powers to a policy of 
benevolent non-interference and the eventual restitution 
of all the rights, concessions and privileges which en- 
croached upon China's sovereignty* Last, but not least, 
they had established the definite ascendancy of their 
own class, the western-educated officials, as rulers of 
China. The seed sown broadcast by their indefatigable 
propagandists had borne fruit beyond their expectations, 
inasmuch as the resolutions adopted by the Conference 
amounted to a general acceptance of the delusive 
that a nation, unfitted by character and circumstances 
for representative government^ may suddenly become 
equipped with the qualities requisite for the successful 
working of democratic institutions* To the influence of 
this idea, and of the equally delusive theories under- 
lying the doctrines of racial equality and self-deter- 
mination, may be ascribed in large measure the ac- 
celerated process of disintegration which has taken 
in China during the past ten years* China's 
left the Conference convinced that they might 
with impunity to ignore or denounce the 
extra-territorial rights and to abolish the "unequal 
Treaties." Everything that had occurred at Washington 
justified the "Nationalist" Government, and 
the Cantonese element, in determining (as they did) to 
take every advantage of the post-war reaction of 
mentality^ which made public opinion in and 

The Washington Conference and After 

America increasingly sensitive and sympathetic with re- 
gard to the rights of weaker nations, Messrs. Welling- 
ton Koo and Alfred Sze went their ways rejoicing. Not 
a voice had been raised during the Conference to 
suggest, on humanitarian grounds, that a genuine effort 
should be made to stem the tide of anarchy in China j 
no delegate had disturbed the harmony of the proceed- 
ings by drawing attention to the pitiful plight to which 
the defenceless people had been reduced by ten years 
of devastating misrule j none had even hinted at the 
fact that the chief and abiding cause of China's parlous 
state lies in the nepotism and corruption of her official 
class* By common consent, the crucial factors of the 
Far Eastern problem remained untouched. In solemn 
agreements the Chinese recorded their Government's 
"intention and capacity to protect the lives and property 
of foreigners in China," its "earnest desire to bring her 
judicial system into accord with that of western nations," 
and other well-worn sterilities; and the Conference, 
filled with zeal for "adventures in liberalism," cheer- 
fully overlooked the notorious fact, that the widespread 
and increasing rapacity of the new mandarinate con- 
stitutes in itself an insuperable obstacle to the production 
of that effective government, for which the Powers 
were determined to provide "the fullest and most un- 
embarrassed opportunity." 

The opportunities thus provided were certainly full, 
and the war-lords and professional politicians of the new 
dispensation showed no hesitation or embarrassment in 
exploiting them* The history of the next decade in 
China is the harvest of the seeds of error sown, with the 
best of misguided intentions, at Washington^ the crop 
of calamities reaped from pursuance of idealistic aims 

23 c 

CHINA; The Pity of It 

which failed to make allowance for the actual condition 
social, political, and economic -of the Chinese 
masses. The rise to power of the "Nationalist" Party 
the unruly Cantonese wing of the Kuommtang~~-in 
1927, was undoubtedly as much a result of the Wash- 
ington Conference as it was of Bolshevik influence and 

Thus were sown the winds of unrest. How fiercely 
they have since blown throughout the length and 
breadth of China, only those know who have seen with 
their own eyes the abomination of desolation that has 
been wrought in the last ten years* As 1 have already 
said, it is not the purpose of this book to describe in 
detail the process of demoralisation, to recount the sorry 
record of these years, which the locusts have eaten* Its 
object is to analyse and explain the various forces^ in- 
fluences and tendencies, native and foreign, which have 
contributed towards this unhappy result. But before 
closing this chapter it may be useful to put before the 
reader a pen picture of the general results of this 
of demoralisation, as summarised by a highly competent 
American observer, five years after the Washington 
Conference. Particularly enlightening is his concluding 
paragraph, which in twenty words explains the root 
cause of all the ills from which China is now 
(and from which she has continually suffered in the 
past) in the absence of a strong central authority! or- 
ganised and administered upon principles of 

Thus writes Mr. Walter H. Mallory, in his 
Land of 

* China: Land of Pamim, By Wattut H, Mattery, 

graphical Society, New York 


The Washington Conference and After 

The central authority has grown weaker and weaker until 
at present its mandates are practically without effect. In 
the meantime the military leaders in the various provinces, 
realising their power and subject to no restraining influence, 
have worked each for himself, rising and falling like the tide. 
Temporary combinations are effected for the purpose of 
eliminating anyone who appears to be gaining the ascend- 
ancy; but when this is accomplished, the allies split up to fight 
among thcmsclycs^until the time is ripe for another effort at 
military consolidation* 

All men are equal; all claim the same privilege of preying 
on their fellows. The idea of responsibility to the State, in 
the absence^ of a monarch, is not yet envisaged; it hardly 
enters at all into the consideration of modern Chinese leaders, 
for the reason that the old spirit of family enrichment at the 
expense of other families is me paramount motive. 

The atmosphere of idealism, which enfolded and 
clouded the deliberations of the Washington Confer- 
ence, precluded any reference to this paramount motive. 
That which another competent observer, the late Mr. 

Thomas Taylor Meadows, has called the "dominant 
morality** of China's ruling class, an essentially import- 
ant factor of the situation, was also by common consent 
ignored. The pious resolutions of the Nine Powers 
Treaty may therefore be regarded as in the nature of 
remedies prescribed for the patient's nervous condition, 
without concern for the symptoms of his deep-rooted 
organic disease. 



"The temper of the Cantonese Is overbearing and violent ; 
iery banditti are numerous; an idle vagrant lot, who set in 
motion Innumerable schemes, so as to disturb the peace be- 
tween China and other countries*" High Commissioner Ki 
Ying to Mr, Caleb Gushing, June, 1844* 

IT is an interesting fact, not generally recognised, that 
one o the causes contributory to the present chaotic con- 
fusion of affairs in China, lies in the monopoly long 

since established by the Cantonese in the matter of 

emigration overseas. Two results, arising out of this 
fact, are worthy of note. Flrstly y that the conception 
of China and things Chinese in America, is erroneous, 
because it is largely based upon superficial observation 
of the only type of Chinese which has gained a 
upon the Pacific coast namely, the Cantonese and 
because this type represents a comparatively small 
section of the nation, by no means respected or beloved 
of the rest. Secondly y that the recently established 
predominance of the Cantonese politicians in the 
Government of China is a by-product of the post- 
war ascendancy of the United States in Far Eastern 

Unless one has sufficiently studied the of 

the Cantonese element in Chinese politics to be to 
appreciate the significance of its recent history 
present ascendancy, it is not possible to form a 
judgment on any aspect of Far Eastern 
For, as I propose to show y the forces and 


The Influence of the Cantonese 

which have enabled the Cantonese faction to establish 

its predominance in China's internal affairs and foreign 
relations since the Washington Conference, are forces 
and tendencies whose scope and effect are bound to 
increase and eventually to constitute the dominant factor 
of the whole Pacific region, far exceeding in importance 
all the permutations and combinations of Kuomintang 
politics. Before proceeding to consider the latest mani- 
festations and results of its preponderant influence, let 
us briefly examine the characteristics which especially 
distinguish the inhabitants of the South-Eastern, or 
Kuang, provinces from those of Central and Northern 

In the first place it is important to note that in the 
latter days of the East India Company, from the time 
of the Emperor Ch'ien Lung down to the first war with 
Great Britain in 1840, Canton was the only Chinese 
port open to foreign traders. The* attitude of its people 
towards foreigners was always one of arrogant 
superiority and the East India Company's servants were 
forced to conduct their trade under conditions of humili- 
ating indignity^ which eventually became so intolerable 
that hostilities were inevitable. Nevertheless, in spite 
of this attitude, the Cantonese, by virtue of this 'mono- 
poly of overseas trade, gained a start over the rest of 
China in the matter of contact with the western world 5 
also^ because of the several reprisals which this attitude 
brought upon them, the pains and penalties of two dis- 
astrous wars 3 they acquired, before their fellow country- 
men, a conception of the military efficiency and scientific 
achievements of the outer barbarian. Thus the intel- 
lectual and political activities of the present-day Can- 
tonesc may fairly be ascribed, in the first instance, 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

to the cumulative effect of their experience and direct 
relations with foreigners, resulting from their trade 
monopoly in the eighteenth and early nineteenth 

When, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, 
the introduction of steamships and the welcome ex- 
tended to Chinese immigrants by the United States in 
the Burlingame Treaty (1868), provided an outlet for 
the millions of China's teeming population, the Can- 
tonese, thanks to their geographical position and 
acquired knowledge, were in a position to seize the 
opportunity thus provided and, with their clannish 
instinct, to develop it for the exclusive benefit of 
the inhabitants of the south-eastern maritime pro- 
vinces. From the city of Rams they poured forth 
in their thousands, to find new places in the sun 
and new sources of wealth, in the United States, in 
Canada, the Philippines, Burmah, Slam and Hawaii* 
Between 1870 and 1904, when America's Asiatic Exclu- 
sion Act became law, over ten million Chinese found 
homes and profitable employment overseas^ practically 
all of whom were natives of the Kuang provinces and 
Fukien, The action of the United States and Canada^ 
first in limiting, and finally in forbidding, immigration, 
was fiercely resented by the Cantonese, who vent 
to their feelings in 1905 by an organised boycott of 
American trade* Their leading men and none 
bitterly than those who had received their education 
abroad denounced, as evidence of race antagonism, 
measures which were imposed by instincts of self-pre- 
servation as natural and imperative as the 
instinct of the Chinese coolie? the real be- 

tween irreconcilable forces, manifestations m both 


The Influence of the Cantonese 

of the struggle for survival amongst races. The exclu- 
sion of the Cantonese from the Philippines and Hawaii 
(1902) was the unkindest cut of all. The expression of 
hostile feeling which it evoked derived new features of 
strength and purpose from the fact that, by this time, 
the large and wealthy committees of Cantonese over- 
seas had acquired new democratic ideas concerning racial 
equality and "the inalienable rights of man," and new 
methods of asserting them by means of political organi- 
sation. The tide of emigration ceased perforce to flowj 
but its cessation left the Cantonese, to whom it had 
brought increase of wealth and knowledge, imbued with 
feelings of hostility towards foreigners, much more 
violent and vocal in their utterance than those displayed 
by their countrymen of the central and northern pro- 

Thus at the beginning of the twentieth century, in 
addition to this rankling grievance y the Cantonese found 
themselves possessed of two assets, which placed them 
in a position to make a successful bid for leadership and 
effective control of China's affairs and government 
these assets being their superior knowledge of foreign 
relations and the financial support provided by the 
wealthy Chinese committees overseas, But in order to 
appreciate the significance of the subsequent develop- 
ments of the situation thus created, it is essential to bear 
in mind the fact that, owing to certain physical and 
mental characteristics which distinguish these south- 
erners from other Chinese, Canton has long been a 
fountain head and f cms of political unrest, and a breed- 
ing ground for conspiracies and rebellions against con- 
stituted authority. In the course of a series of lectures 
delivered at the Lowell Institute of Harvard twenty 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

years ago, and In a work published at that timc ? * I 
traced the geographical and economic origins of these 
distinctive characteristics and showed how, throughout 
the period of Manchu rule,, they had found continual 
expression in political agitation and insurrections, culmi- 
nating in the Taiping Rebellion, Describing the nature 
of their political activities, 1 observed that the Cantonese 
have been called the Irish of China. "They are tradi- 
tionally and by temperament 'agin the government/ 
heirs of ages of revolt against the constituted authority 
of Peking; individually courageous, no respecters of 
persons, impatient of restraint, sullen in their political 
antipathies, invincibly cheerful in their daily lives. Re- 
bellion-makers in ordinary to the Chinese people, their 
intellectual alertness and clannishness have fitted them 
naturally for leadership in treasons, stratagems and 
spoils; their camarilla instinct, developed by centuries of 
secret society organisation, attains in practice to scientific 
precision. They have learned the successful politician's 
secret of profitably directing the labours of other men, 
and their contempt for the slower-witted northerners is 
never very carefully concealed/* 

"As politicians, their proceedings are marked by an 
emotional and often infectious fervour of enthusiasm } 
behind this, unfortunately deep-rooted in economic 
duress, frequently lurk instincts as predatory in theis* 
way as those of the pirates of their coasts 5 a fierce lust 
of office which, if balked, often outweighs all of 

patriotic duty and endeavour/* This last characteristic 
is by no means peculiar to the Cantonese~-the army of 
the place-seekers is thoroughly national but the Can* 

* Vid Rc*ni Evnt$ anl Pr$$mt in Chin*. 



The Influence of the Cantonese 

tonese have developed it with all their peculiar energy 
and with a measure of success? which constitutes a very 
considerable factor in the constant antagonism between 
North and South. It is a characteristic which accounts, 
not only for their chronic opposition to the political 
factions of the north, but for the private animosities 
and public feuds which divide them amongst them- 

Even in the golden age of the Manchus, under the 
Emperors Kang Hsi and Ch'ien Lung, when the power 
and prestige of the Dragon Throne were at their zenith, 
Canton, the irreconcilable, was ever a sharp thorn in 
the side of the dynasty and the ceaseless activities of its 
secret sodeties a constant source of unrest. But until 
the twentieth century, the Cantonese element in the 
public service of the Empire enjoyed no particular 
advantage in the official hierarchy; their provincial 
clique was, if anything, less powerful at the centre of 
government than those of the Anhui, Hunan and Chihli 
parties. But after the passing of the Empress Dowager, 
and the death blow inflicted on the Confucian man- 
darinatc by the introduction of western learning, the 
political ascendancy of the Cantonese became inevitable, 
because of those special advantages to which I have re- 
ferred* The anti-dynastic activities of Sun Yat-sen and 
his fellow conspirators prior to 191 1 were in themselves 
negligible, and commanded little or no support, even in 
his native province j but when, as the result of an almost 
accidental cowp d mmn^ what was left of the dynasty 
collapsed? the Cantonese were not slow to perceive their 
opportunity as the founders and expounders of the 
Republic* At the first national assembly held at Nan- 
king in March, 1912, Sun Yat-sen's adherents declared 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

that, as the South had been the first to raise the banner 
of Republicanism, it could lawfully claim to enjoy the 
spoils of the Revolution. It was not long before the 
leaders of the other political groups at Peking and Nan- 
king began to resent this claim and to suspect that Sun 
Yat-seifs conception of a Republic meant "China for 
the Cantonese** which it undoubtedly did. 

They were soon to learn that, with the new era of 
internecine strife inaugurated with the Revolution, 
certain new factors and conditions had come into play, 
which had placed the southerners in a position of great 
advantage. The Kuang provinces had come to represent 
intellectual Activities and financial resources drawn from 
overseas, with which no other provincial combination 
could hope to cope successfully; also they had estab- 
lished channels of communication with the outside 
world^ which enabled them to speak with authority on 
foreign affairs. They were marked out, at home and 
abroad, as a rapidly growing force of a new type, with 
which the older political factions were unable to 

Commenting on this aspect of the Chinese situation 
at Harvard in 1912, 1 ventured to predict that Canton 
would either succeed in dominating the interior politics 
of the Republic, by virtue of its superior 
and knowledge of international affairs, or that it would 
speedily insist upon conditions of provincial autonomy, 
which would make an effective central government im- 
possible. The course of events^ during the twenty 
which have since elapsed, has justified this prediction* 
The history of this period may fairly be as 

a ceaseless struggle for supremacy between continually 
shifting groups of political adventurers^ supported by 

The Influence of the Cantonese 

purely mercenary armed forces, but throughout this 
struggle the Cantonese party has continually opposed 
the policy of the central authority and endeavoured to 
dominate the machinery of government. Beginning 
with their war to punish Yuan Shih-Kai, declared by 
Sun Yat-sen and his Constitutionalists against the Presi- 
dent of the Republic in June, 19135 continuing with 
their political and military campaigns against Tuan Chi- 
jui and the northern "militarists," and ending with the 
successful cabal of last year against Chiang K'ai-shek 
as chief of the executive at Nanking, the Cantonese 
party has given continual proof of its determination 
either to control the central government or to declare 
its independence of that government and to establish 
its own at Canton* Up to the time of the Washington 
Conference, the struggle for supremacy was waged in 
general accordance with time-honoured principles, and 
its inconclusive' results were achieved rather by financial 
than by military arguments. The very length of the 
struggle and the monotonous similarity of the incidents, 
together with the clamorous propaganda of all con- 
cernedy combined to create the impression abroad that 
the revolts of Canton were merely passing phases, pre- 
liminary to that complete unification of the country 
which all proclaimed as their patriotic purpose. But the 
Washington Conference having made it dear that none 
of the Powers would intervene to stem the tide of 
anarchy in China, and that they were, moreover, pre- 
pared to make self-denying sacrifices to the principle of 
self-determination which gave promise' of material 
advantages to the party in power, Sun Yat-sen and his 
supporters of the Cantonese Kuomintang lost no time 
in taking advantage of the new situation thus created. 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

The vigorous initiative, cohesion and political acumen 
which they displayed at this juncture emphasised not 
only all the old ambitions, but a definite consciousness 
of new powers and remarkable skill in adopting western 
ideas, even those of Bolshevism^ for the furtherance of 
their political ends. The triumphant progress of the 
southern "Nationalist" forces through Central and 
Northern China in 1926-8 may be regarded, roughly 
speaking, as a manifestation of the same impulses and 
instincts as those which brought the Taiping hordes of 
the "Heavenly Prince" to Nanking in 1853. Their 
leader, law-giver and prophet. Sun Yat-sen, displayed 
the same fanatical belief in himself and his mission, as 
that which inspired the Taiping "Princes/ 1 but the 
resources at the command of modern Canton, backed 
by the wealthy committees overseas and by highly 
organised propagandist activities abroad, were new 
phenomena, of great significance to the future of 

The claim to supremacy in national affairs on which, 
since the establishment of the Nationalist Government 
at Nanking, Canton has based its prescriptive right to 
interpret Sun's "Three Principles" and to define Kuo- 
mintang principles and policies, is significant, not so 
much because of its immediate results in China, as be- 
cause of the indication which it affords of the rapidly 
increasing strength of the modernised and 
Americanised China of the south* The forces 
to Cantonese domination of the machinery of govern- 
ment (the combined deadweights of national 
vatism and provincialism) are probably In 

China to-day than they were when Yuan 8hih-K?ti dis- 
solved the Kuomintang in 1913, They have recently 


The Influence of the Cantonese 

been consolidated by the extreme aggressiveness which 
the Cantonese have displayed at Nanking, and by their 
cynical opportunism^ ever ready to enlist the aid of 
foreigners Russians yesterday, Japanese to-day in 
order to impose their authority. Much of the prestige 
which the Cantonese politicians and Intellectuals have 
acquired in the eyes of their fellow countrymen since 
1922, by their effective handling of China's foreign 
relations and skilful propaganda, is offset by the 
fact that, when it comes to a crisis of domestic 
politics, every man of them (and most notably those 
who loudly proclaim the unity of the country achieved 
by the Kuomintang) invariably proves himself to be 
Cantonese first and a patriot afterwards. Thus, when it 
came to a trial of strength between the leaders of the 
southern section of the Kuomintang and Chiang K?ai- 
shek last year, and when Chiang, manoeuvring for 
position, had detained in custody the person of Hu 
Han*min, Cantonese chairman of the Legislative 
Council, as a hostage for the good behaviour of his 
colleagues, the separatist movement which followed re- 
ceived the immediate support of all the Cantonese 
politicians hitherto identified with the Nanking Gov- 
ernmenty including the Chinese Minister at Washington 
(Dr. C C. Wu), the Minister of Railways (Sun Fo), 
Wang Chung-hui, the international jurist, and Tang 
Shao-yi, elder statesman and adviser to the Govern- 
ment. These men, be it observed, have all been promi- 
nently associated in the public mind with a patriotic 
movement^ pledged to devote itself to the unification 
of China under a constitutional government. Yet when 
the Cantonese provincial party, failing to impose its 
will upon the "Soong dynasty" at Nanking, declared 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

its usual hostile independence, these same men, the fine 
flower of western enlightenment, displayed a parochial- 
ism as inveterate as that of any Hunancse Han-lin of 

the old regime, combined with an almost Irish quality 
of intransigeance. Herein, it may be saidy they run 
true to type, as the records of the East India Company 
amply prove j the natural disposition of the Cantonese 
was succinctly described by the harassed Manchu Gov- 
ernment, in the course of Kiying*s negotiations with Mr 
Caleb Cushing in 1844, as "overbearing and violent, 
habitual disturbers of the peace/ 1 But the latest mani- 
festations of this characteristic arrogance, which have 
occurred during recent phases of the struggle for 
supremacy ftt Nanking, reveal an increasingly 
consciousness of the advantages which have accrued to 
Canton, as the fons e$ origo of the new dispensation 
proclaimed by Sun Yat-sen, and as the ancestral home 
and chief beneficiary of the wealthy and influential com- 
munities overseas* 

This "violent and overbearing temper" is one of the 
defects of the qualities which distinguish the Cantonese, 
Another is that cynical opportunism, to which I have 
already referred, and of which the career of Sun Yat- 
sen provides many typical examples. A notable exhibi- 
tion of their tendency to slim expediency in politics 
occurred last year, when the independent Canton Gov- 
ernment dispatched its Foreign Minister, Mr* 
Chen, on a mission to Tokyo* It was wholly in 
with the traditions of Cantonese statecraft they 
should attempt to intrigue with the Japanese Govern- 
ment, in order to weaken the government at 
through its ally, the ruler of Manchuria; equally typical 
that, having thus intrigued,- they should then 


The Influence of the Cantonese 

to make common cause of patriotism with Nanking 
against Japan, on condition that Chiang K?ai-shek sur- 
rendered his leadership into the hands of the Southern 
party. From the Chinese point of view, these things 
are normal incidents In the ruthless,, ceaseless struggle 
for place and power. At the same time, by their very 
cynicism, and by the evidence which they afford of the 
Cantonese party's determination to get control of the 
central authority at all costs, they must serve to give 
new cohesion and solidarity to the provincial groups 
which oppose this ascendancy of the Southerners, and 
new justification for so doing. For these reasons, the 
prospect of a China united under the effective authority 
of a Canton-controlled Government, is one which is not 
likely to materialise in the immediate future. It is more 
probable that, while civil war drags out its weary length, 
the separatist tendencies of the Southern provinces will 
be intensified and accelerated, because of the cumulative 
effect throughout this region of American and other 
foreign influences that are incompatible with, and 
impatient of, the inert conservatism of the masses in 
Central and Northern China. Such being the case y it 
would seem inevitable that Canton's repeated secessions 
must eventually lead to the permanent establishment of 
a separate Southern Republic, governed from the City 
of Karns^ whose shifting frontiers, intrigues and policies 
will continue, as at present, to be largely matters of 
stratagems and spoils. 

But whatever may prove to be their ultimate effect 
upon the actual struggle for predominance in China 
(which will certainly not cease unless the Powers inter- 
vene), the influence of these communities overseas 
already constitutes a factor in Far Eastern affairs, far 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

exceeding in its potential importance all the political 
programmes and pourparlers of Nanking* As regards 
the nature and evolution of this factor, I have already 
referred to the significant fact that the tide of Chinese 
emigration whichy in the middle of the nineteenth 
century began to flow towards the Straits Settlements, 
the Dutch Indies, Burmah, Indo-China, Siam and the 
Pacific coast, was from the outset practically confined 
to natives of the Kuang provinces and Fukicn, and that 
this monopoly has been jealously protected and skil- 
fully directed ever since by their guilds and secret 
societies. Very few political economists to-day realise 
how swiftly this silent-flowing tide has increased 50 
range and volume since the passing of the American 
Exclusion Acts, towards the end of the nineteenth 
century} unfortunately, no comprehensive or authori- 
tative statistics are available on the subject. The 
numbers of Chinese resident in the colonial territories 
or protectorates of the Western Powers and on the 
Pacific seaboard can only be estimated, as a rule, from 
the census figures, given from time to time in uncor- 
related government reports. But from these, and from 
works, such as M, Dennery 7 s Foules d*Asfa t and Pro- 
fessor Toynbee^s survey of Chines* 
Tropical Territories^ certain general inferences may be 

Chinese immigration into the United freely 

permitted by the Burlingame Treaty of 1 868 y was rigor- 
ously limited by agreement in 1883, and finally 
by the Asiatic Exclusion Law in 1904* After that 
the tide of emigration, abruptly in its 

movement, flowed with rapidly to- 

wards Malaya, Siam* Indo-China, Burmah, and the 


The Influence of the Cantonese 

Dutch Indies. The latest reliable statistics give the fol- 
lowing results in each of these countries: 

BRITISH MALAYA. In 1921, the Chinese population 
(census return) amounted to 1,174,777, as against 1,651,051 
Malays, The actual figure at the present day can only be 
estimated, but as the net immigration for the years 1925 to 
1928 was over a million, the native population must have been 
In the minority for some time past. 

SIAM. According to the census of 1920, there were 
260,464 Chinese in biam at that date. In 1925, the number 
was estimated at 500,000 (Ency. Brit.) and in 1930 at 
2,000,000* The immigration recorded between 1918 and 1926 
amounted to 643,000, 

INDO-CHINA.- In recent years Chinese immigration into 

Indo-China appears to have been discouraged and checked 
by the French authorities, In 1910, their number was officially 
given as 232,000. The latest estimates place it at about 

BURMABL According to the census of 1901, there were 
then 62,486 Chinese resident in the Province; in 1911, the 
number was 123,000 and in 1921, 149,060. They intermarry 
freely with Burmese women, ana the male children of such 

marriages are held to be Chinese, 

DUTCH EAST INDIES, In 1900, the Java Bureau of 
Statistics gave the number of Chinese In Java, Sumatra, 
Borneo, etc,, as 537,000, In 1920, jt was 809,000, at which 
date the total European and Eurasian population amounted 
to 169,708, 

The number of Chinese in British North Borneo in 1930 
was estimated at 60,000, 

THE PHILIPPINES. The number of "persons of 
Chinese parentage" was estimated in 1928 at about 150,000. 

These tre mostly natives of Fukien, 

The most significant feature presented by each and 
all of these Chinese communities overseas, is the 
economic superiority which they display over the in- 
habitants of the countries in which they establish them- 
selves* Given a fair field of opportunity, their racial 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

solidarity, ready adaptability, sobriety and thrift, com- 
bined with a standard of living which defies all com- 
petition/ enable them to under-live and undersell all 

other races; and the same qualities, combined with 
shrewd business ability, tend to concentrate wealth in 
the hands of their merchants, bankers and shipowners. 

The British Colonies of Hongkong and Singapore are 
virtually Chinese-owned to-day; were it not for the 
Asiatic Exclusion Acts, the Pacific coast of North 
America would have become a Chinese colony long ago- 
Where once these sons of Han have taken root, nothing 
short of physical violence (such as California resorted 
to in 1904^ and the Koreans have used quite lately) can 
save the native lord of the soil from being ruined by 
Chinese cheap labour, and eventually dispossessed. 
Moreover, so long as there is a right of entry and a 
living to be made, every Chinese community overseas 
will draw unto itself masses of new recruits from the 
overcrowded Canton delta. It requires, therefore, no 
special gift of imagination to foresee that either the 
nations concerned will protect themselves in the 
future by legislating against Chinese immigration, or 
that, within % comparatively short space of time (say 
fifty years). Canton will have become the capital city 
and spiritual home of a New China, whose commercial 
and political activities will be the predominating factor 
of the whole Pacific region. As time o% as this 
Cantonese centre becomes more and more representative 
of the emancipated modernity of the communities over- 
seats, its social and political structure must become 
and more sharply differentiated from that of the rest 
of China. At the same time, because the modification 
of racial characteristics is necessarily a slow process of 


The Influence of the Cantonese 

evolution, It may safely be assumed that the power of 
the Secret Societies, wielded by inner directorates with 
headquarters at Canton, will not be greatly different, 
in machinery and methods, from that of former daysj 
through these^ the Cantonese Kuornintang will therefore 
continue to command allegiance, collect the subscrip- 
tionsy and control the international relations of these 
communities overseas j in other words, it will develop 
and exercise immense power over a very wide area. 
The recent brief-lived proscription of the activities of 
the Kuomintang by the British authorities of Malaya 
may be regarded as a cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, 
which is destined eventually to overshadow all other 
problems of the Far East. Regarded in this light, the 
Cantonese party's activities in the arena of internal 
politics, and the repeated assertion of their right to 
secede from any government which they do not control, 
are matters whose significance lies rather in the future 
than in the present, and more in the field of world 
economics than in that of Chinese politics. 

For the present,, the struggle for supremacy must 
continue because, for all their solidarity and efficiency, 
the quick-witted Southerners cannot hope to overcome 
the deep-rooted antagonism of the North and to or- 
ganise a new United China under their undisputed 
control But even while the struggle continues, they 
will continue to enjoy the prestige which they have 
acquired in the eyes of their countrymen as organisers 
and leaders of the Kuomintang policies associated with 
the name of Sun Yat-sen ? and particularly with that 
which aims at recovering the rights and privileges con- 
ferred upon foreigners by the unequal Treaties. In 
these matters all China has practically recognised the 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

intellectual ascendancy of the South j and a new national 

philosophy is in progress of evolution, around and about 
the already legendary figure of the author of the "Three 

Principles/' which reflects the peculiar genius of the 
Cantonese for political organisation, their abounding 
energy and their inveterate chauvinism. Because of the 
light which it throws upon this new national philosophy, 
and upon the mentality of the western-educated "Intel- 
lectuals" who have evoked it y let us now consider the 
remarkable phenomenon of the cult of Sun Vat-sen, 
and thereafter examine the nature and results of the 
propaganda for foreign consumption which the Kuo- 
mintangj under Cantonese influence, have upon 

that cult. 



"The whole career of the great Dr, Sun is a kind of quest 
of a philosopher's stone. Not only do his analyses of political, 
social and economic forces appear weirdly irrational to 
western thought, but they have never affected, by any power 
of reason, the political thought of China. He was always dis- 
trusted, while he was alive, by the majority of his country- 
men. He^ will be remembered in time as an historical figure 
of tragic irony." Owen Lattimore.* 

CLOSELY examined, the apotheosis of Sun Yat-sen, since 
his death in March, 1925, affords evidence of the mental 
confusion and political demoralisation which have re- 
sulted from the sudden abolition of the Confucianist 
system of education and of the Throng the founda- 
tion and apex respectively of China's ancient civilisa- 
tion* The legend of his political wisdom and patriotic 
virtue, which his relatives and adherents have ingeni- 
ously created, and which the southern section of the 
Kuomintang has deliberately exploited, for their own 
ends, are phenomena deserving of study. The whole 
story of the canonisation, on the initiative of the Can- 
tonese Radicals, of their "late revered leader," presents 
features of unusual interest, not only for the student of 
modem politics but for every observer of human affairs. 
It illustrates and emphasises in a remarkable degree the 
truth, that the real causes and significance of political 
events in Asiatic countries lie deeply hidden beneath 
the surface on which the publicists so glibly expatiate, 

* From A&iflfarfqr, CradU $f Conflict. Reproduced by permission of the 

publiiheti* the Mtcmillao Co. 


CHINA; The Pity of It 

The western world of diplomacy and politics, with 
little opportunity or incentive to look beneath that sur- 
face, has generally been disposed to accept Sun Yat-sen 
and the posthumous legend of his "Three Principles/ 1 at 
the face value placed upon them by the propagandists 
of the Kuomintang and by the inner clique of Sun's 
relatives and in-laws, familiarly known in Chinese 
political circles as the "Soong dynasty/' But a careful 
study of the Cantonese leader's career and writings 
must convince every dispassionate observer that there 
is nothing in either to justify his canonisation as a 
national prophet and law-giver, and very little in the 
"Three Principles" (except it be his continual appeal to 
racial pride) that can convey any message intelligible 
or comforting to the mind of the Chinese masses. Such 
being the case, It follows,, and I propose to show, that 
the personal apotheosis of Sun Yat-sen and the import- 
ance ascribed to his political doctrines are artificial 
phenomena, deliberately created by the westernised 
section of the modern mandarinate, in order to 
strengthen their own position as rulers of China 
and to create the Impression of a popular and progres- 
sive government, rightly entitled to be relieved of the 
humiliating burden of the "unequal Treaties*" 

First, as to Sun's personality and careen It Is not 
necessary for our present purpose, to describe the earlier 
stages of his career as a political agitator- generally IE 
exile working for the overthrow of the Manchu 
dynasty and sowing the seed of revolutionary sentiment 
amongst the Chinese communities overseas* The plain 
story of his early life, as told lc by reliable men of ex- 
cellent memory now living in Honolulu, who knew Sun 
Yat-sen from his boyhood to his death," has recently 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

been published by Bishop Restarick.* It conveys a much 
more accurate impression of the mentality and morality 
of the revolutionary leader than that which English 
readers derived from the emotional work produced by 
Dr. James Cantlie in collaboration with Mr. Sheridan 
Jones, shortly after the declaration of the Republic, f 
In the absence of more accurate knowledge, Dr. 
Cantlie's unbalanced panegyric created at the time a con- 
siderable amount of sympathy for Sun Yat-sen's pro- 
fessions and projects of reform and belief in his 
capacity y so to carry them out, that China might speedily 
advance and take her rightful place on a footing of 
equality with the western world. True, he confessed 
at the outset that his judgment might have been 
affected by personal regard for Sun Yat-sen as "the most 
perfect character he ever knew," and by the "inexplain- 
able influence of his remarkable magnetism and charm." 
The influence in his case appears indeed to have been 
of an almost hypnotic character, for it led him to assure 
his readers fatter alia that the triumph of his hero and 
of the Revolution had put an end for ever to "the day 
of corrupt and impossible mandarins." "If there is one 
result of the Revolution more certain than another," 
he wrote, "it is that the relations between China and 
Europe have entered definitely upon a new chapter, 
free from the irritating absurdities^ the suspicions and 
hostilities of the past, and to be characterised by candour 
and cordiality-" And again, "the prescience of the man 
who has for twenty years directed operations against 
the Manchu despotism will be in nothing more apparent 

* Smn y*-w*, Ubwatov of CA*** By Bishop Restarick. Yale 

Uaivewity i<m, (London, Milford, W*) , ^ _ 

f Sm Y^sm and the Awakening of China. By James Cantlie and 
Sheridan, Jonei, (Jarrold, 1913.) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

than this: that now the crash has come, he has his men 
ready for all the positions of trust and danger, on whose 
fitness the State must depend." Fantastic as it now 
appears, Dr, Cantlie's enthusiastic belief in Sun Yat- 
sen's vision of Celestial socialism and in the miracle of 
a sudden and complete change in the structional char- 
acter of the Chinese people, found a ready response 
amongst sentimental enthusiasts in this country and in 
the United States, Their opinions,, founded on similar 
delusions, probably contributed, as much as the re- 
actions of the Great War, to produce the policy of bene- 
volent laiss@r-faire prescribed by the Washington Con- 
ference- A significant manifestation of the prevailing 
influence of these opinions was afforded shortly before 
the Conference when, at a banquet given by the Pan- 
Pacific Association at Shanghai to a large party of 
American Congressmen and their wives, Sun Yat-scn 
held forth on the subject of his political activities against 
the central government at Peking* Replying for the 
guests, Dr. Paul Reinsch, American ex-Minister to 
China, declared that cc out of all the world, Dr. Sun 
stood out as the representative of the Chinese ideal, 
true to her inner traditions and the ideals Americans 
believed in. First of all, he was a true and Chinese 

Writing shortly after Dr. Cantlle*s book was pub- 
lished, I ventured to express the opinion that, while 
Sun's personal magnetism, patriotic energy and 
were undeniable^ his ideals of government and reform 
were the result of undigested socialistic theories, com- 
bined with a purely Imaginative and 
tion of China and the Chinese, he himself an 

unusually exotic type of Young China, and 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

trained amongst Europeans, Even at that time, his 
political speeches and writings had begun to reveal the 
peculiar lack of historical consciousness,, and the fluent 
opportunism unhampered by facts, which characterise 
the "Three Principles. 7 ' Also, as I observed, had it 
not been for the naive sincerity of the man himself and 
his untiring energy, the splendid vagueness and extrava- 
gance of his reform schemes would have made them 
and him ridiculous, as indeed they soon became. It was 
inevitable that he should be compared with Danton, 
for he resembled the great Jacobin, not only in possess- 
ing the restless and energetic energy of the born con- 
spirator, but in his robust faith in the reformation of 
mankind by virtue of political institutions, and in him- 
self as the Heaven-sent Reformer. Finally, I pointed 
out that his artless enthusiasm for ideals had by no 
means deprived him of the practical common sense of 
the Cantonese 1 j his most fervent orations would have 
been incomplete without taking up a collection for the 
good cause. Sincerely simple in his private 1 life, he 
displayed, from the first moment of his rise to power, 
a weakness for uniforms, imposing ceremonies and pro- 
cessions; a man of the people, he surrounded himself, 
as President elect, with suites and bodyguards, with 
pomp and circumstance. Towards the end of his career, 
as head of the independent Government at Canton in 
1923-24, he developed megolomania of an acute type, 
which, in the opinion of many observers, including mis- 
sionaries, verged on sadic insanity* 

Until his triumphal appearance upon the scene as 
Provisional President of the new-born Republic at the 
end of 191 1, Sun Yat-sen's romantic career as a political 
conspirator abroad had earned for him amongst 


CHINA; The Pity of It 

foreigners in the Far East the reputation of a resource- 
ful and courageous rebel, patriotic according to his lights 
and honest as China's political world goes. He appealed 
to the popular imagination at a time when any symptom 
of sincerity in the direction of constructive reform was 
doubly welcome* Many of those who had come into 
contact with his engaging personality before his rise to 
power, were disposed to hope and believe that in him 
Young China had at last found a leader who would set 
a convincing example of disinterested devotion to the 
public service, and thus achieve the most urgently 
needed of all reforms^ a raising of the standard of 
mandarin morality. The hope was foredoomed, for the 
reason that every man, no matter how or is 

necessarily a product of the antecedents of the society 
which gave him birth* "We are what suns and winds 
and waters make us/ 1 as Landor says, and the 
fmg s/mi of Kuangtung, which determined the type 
of Sun Yat-sen's mind^ were far too deep-rooted to be 
radically modified by residence abroad or by western 
learning- The whole of his career ^ after Ms return to 
China in 1:911, affords instructive testimony to the 
biological truth, that the social and moral born 

and bred in an Asiatic people are not to be 
(they merely become latent) as the result of a 
education. In due season the atavistic instincts and men- 
tality of the race-mind assert themselves and the indi- 
vidual reverts to the type of the society which produced 
him* The nature of the instincts and impulses underly- 
ing Sun Yat-sen's personal ambitions was fully under- 
stood and appreciated by his own countrymen* When, 
for example, the Kuangtung merchants, driven to 
peration by the ruthlessnesa of his methods for 


The Cult and Legend o Sun Yat-sen 

money from them wherewith to pay his Yiinnanese 
troops^ raised their OWE volunteer bands in 140 towns 
throughout the province and planned the overthrow of 
the revolutionary leader in the autumn of 1924, Sun's 
ferocious reprisals, carried out by Labour bands or- 
ganised by the left wing of the Kuomintang under the 
advice of Comrade Borodin, destroyed the wealthiest 
section of Canton with great loss of life. Borodin's own 
reports, prior to this period, show that he regarded Sun 
as an ambitious visionary, afflicted with megalomania. 
At the time of his death, the hero of thd revolution 
had completely lost the confidence and support of the 
Chinese communities overseas^ on account of his Bolshe- 
vist associations and ruthless methods of government. 
No better evidence could be cited of the audacity and 
skill, displayed by the Kuomintang propagandists since 
his death, than the fact that all such unfortunate inci- 
dents have been obliterated from the official records 
and that the legendary figure of "our late revered 
leader" imposed upon China to-day, is that of a prophet 
and law-giver, well beloved of his people. 

Sun Yat-sen's eulogists lay stress upon his personal 
honesty and upon the fact that, considering his oppor- 
tunities, he died a comparatively poor man. Judged 
by Chinese standards, he was certainly not grasping or 
avaricious, and was ever more engrossed in his political 
schemes than in his private affairs. But in the pursuit 
of those schemes he continually displayed an expediency 
as unprincipled, and an opportunism as supple, as that 
of Yuan Shih-K?ai, Tuan Chi-jui or any other of his 
political opponents. Thus, in 1911, he did not hesitate 
to obtain financial assistance and military advisers from 
Japan, though in later years he denounced with patriotic 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

indignation the politicians of the Anfu persuasion for 
doing precisely the same thing. After his resignation 
of the Presidency in favour of Yuan Shih-K'ai in 1912, 
it was only the opposition of his southern colleagues 
which prevented him from accepting a highly-paid post 
as Director General of Railways, under the Dictator at 
Peking. That he was freehanded and personally in- 
different to wealth is true, in the same way that it was 
true of the great Viceroys Chang Chth-tung and Liu 
K?un-y!} nevertheless, it is also incontestably true that 
in his case, as in that of every party leader since 1911, 
politics proved a remunerative profession. The main 
objects of his ambition were power and fame,, but In 
achieving them he certainly attained also the object in- 
stinctively pursued by every son of Han, namely, that of 
placing his own kith and kin beyond the menace of 
poverty for several generations* According to common 
repute, his $0% Sun Fo (lately Minister of Railways 
under Chiang K'ai-shck, and now the leading figure in 
the Cantonese Government) is one of the wealthiest of 
China's modern millionaires^ while the position of 
ascendancy achieved by his second wife and her sinter, 
In the councils of the Kuomintang Central Committee 
under Chiang K?ai~$hek ? might almost be described as 

As regards the conduct of his private life, Sun Yat- 
sen affords an instructive example of reversion to type, 
and evidence of the truth that a western education 
cannot greatly modify the deep-rooted atavistic ten- 
dencies of the Oriental Bishop Restarick's biographical 
sketch of the "Liberator* 1 was obviously inspired by 
feelings of admiratio% approaching emotional 
worship j but for all that, impartial accuracy 

The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

him to record, on the evidence of reliable witnesses, that 
the Father of the Republic frequently showed himself 
to be lacking in those qualities which, judged either by 
Chinese or by Western standards of morality, are ex- 
pected of the Good Ruler, the Superior Man. Thus, for 
example, the Bishop admits thaty where there was an 
important object to be gained (as in the case of his 
affidavit, applying for American citizenship, on false 
grounds, in 1904) he did not hesitate to pervert the 
truth j that while professing Christianity he practised 
polygamy j and that he was a past master in the arts 
and crafts of political propaganda. The story of his 
life, as told to the Bishop by his relatives and early 
associates, leaves the impression of a restless, undis- 
ciplined but curiously impressive and sympathetic per- 
sonality^ wholly unscrupulous as to the means and 
methods by which his ambitious ends were attained, yet 
different from the common run of political agitators 
because of his indifference to personal wealth, his un- 
tiring activity, and the sincerity of his endeavours to 
remove some of the causes, which he dimly perceived, 
of China^s economic and political inferiority. 

The ambition which manifestly inspired all his 
activities, after the overthrow of the Manchus, was to 
make the Cantonese rulers of China, with himself at 
their head* In pursuit of this ambition he displayed an 
inexhaustible capacity for intrigue, combined with com- 
plete indifference to public opinion and to the fact that 
his proceedings were Irreconcilable with his professed 
principles and pledges. Considered in this light, his 
relations with Moscow, which began in January, 1923, 
and continued until his death in March, 1925, were 
incidental and, in a sense, accidental} certainly they were 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

no more indicative of a sincere acceptance of Bolshevist 
principles than his profession of Christianity was proof 
of genuine conversion to that faith. He was always 
ready^ even as his successors in control of the Cantonese 
party are to-day, to intrigue with whichever foreign 
Power, Russia or Japan, England or the United States, 
seemed most likely at the moment to supply material 
assistance against his opponents and rivals. From the 
time of the death of Yuan Shih-K?ai (1916) until his 
own, his years were spent in a struggle for pow^ry far 
more acute than anything he had experienced when con- 
spiring against the Manchus. During these strenuous 
yea,rs of treasons, stratagems, and spoils, he was alter- 
nately either head of the independent Government of 
Canton, in rebellion against the Northern "militarists/* 
or, when driven from Canton by cabals his 

own followers^ a refugee In the Foreign Settlement at 
Shanghai, ceaselessly plotting his return to power, It 
was in January, 1923, when Sun, "in with 

fortune and men*s eyes/* was living in the French Con- 
cession at Shanghai, that the Bolshevist agent, Abram 
Joffe, made overtures to him which laid the foundation 
of "most cordial and friendly relations"} their result 
was to bring the Southern armies in triumph to Peking^ 
sowing as they went evil winds of unrest throughout 
the land, whose harvest is still in the reaping. Until 
his association with the agents of Moscow, Sun f s political 
programmes had not been conspicuously marked by the 
violent manifestations of ill-will to which 

characterised his utterances after his return to Canton 
in February, 1923, and which led him, shortly before his 
death* to give his retrospective blessing to Boxeristn* But 
when it is borne in mind that the shorthand of the 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

lectures which comprise the "Three Principles" were 
collated into the final text under Comrade Borodin's 
supervision, and when the nature of the close co-opera- 
tion between the Soviets and Canton, from 1924 on- 
wards, is examined in the light of the documents seized 
in 1928 at the Soviet Embassy at Peking, it is justifiable 
to conclude that the Moscovite atmosphere, which per- 
meates the text of China's "political Bible," was rather 
an expression of the author's obligations and lively sense 
of favours to some, than of genuine political convictions. 
The text itself proves conclusively that its author took 
many of his ideas ready-made from sources which he 
had never seriously studied, and that neither he, nor the 
final editors of the "Three Principles," were at pains to 
reconcile his earlier doctrines, borrowed from Henry 
George and Karl Marx, with those which he acquired 
at later dates from Dr. Maurice William and Comrade 
Borodin. How much of the book, which the Kuomintang 
has imposed on the nation as its political Bible, is Sun's 
own work and how much was interpolated under Boro- 
din's direction, must remain matter for surmise, but the 
moving finger of the Moscovite can be clearly discerned 
throughout the text, which may be described as a patch- 
work, in which an artless fantasia on contemporary 
Chinese politics is adapted to the propaganda of the 
Third International. According to the propaganda of the 
Kuomintang Intellectuals, who have canonised Sun as the 
national prophet and law-giver, his "Three Principles" 
accurately represent the mind of modern China, but the 
fact remains, that the shorthand notes of the original 
lectures were taken down by Borodin's secretary, Huang 
Ch^fflg"ku* later Mayor of Wuchang and a leader of 
the Red Directorate to which the British Government 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

surrendered the Concession at Hankow. The final edit- 
ing of the work was done, not by Sun Yat-sen himself, 
but by Chou Lu ? the ultra-red President of the Chung- 
Shan University of Canton. It is stretching credulity 

too far to suggest that Borodin and his associates failed 
to avail themselves of such an opportunity to present 
the new Gospel of Young China In a form calculated to 
promote the ends of Bolshevism* 

The thing was very skilfully done. Over the heads 
of the inarticulate masses, the "Three Principles" were 
acclaimed by the westernised section of Young China, 
and especially by the Cantonese element in the Kuo- 
mintang, as the inspired Gospel, by virtue of which 
China was to throw off the humiliating yoke of the "un- 
equal Treaties/' recover her unfettered sovereignty, 
and finally vindicate the principle of racial equality* 
The doctrines proclaimed in the name of the founder 
of the Republic supplied a background and justification 
for the Kuomintang's organised campaign to secure the 
expropriation and eventual eviction of the foreigner; 
in other words, they provided new and promising 
methods of achieving the ambition which^ naturally 
enough, has always inspired the rulers of China* Under 
Comrade Borodin's adroit direction, the campaign 
assumed definite direction and violent expression; to 
his advice were due the slogans whereby the ever-latent 
chauvinism of the masses was stirred to activity, 
the adoption by the Cantonese leaders of those Bolshe- 
vist methods of propaganda, which eventually 
mightier than the sword, in their triumphant 
first to the Yangtze, and then to Peking, 

It is necessary to bear this fact In mind the 

imposing edifice of make believe, constructed by Chiang 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

K?ai~shek and the Southern section of the Kuomintang, 
for the beguilement of Europe and America, depends 
largely for its success and stability upon their ability 
to convince the outside world of the reality of the Cult 
of Sun Yat-sen and of its genuine appeal to the masses. 
After Sun Yat-sen's death it became the first concern 
of the Kuomintang's spokesmen and publicists, at home 
and abroad, to inculcate the belief that the apotheosis 
of the Cantonese leader is a spontaneous and sincere 
manifestation of the nation's newly-awakened political 
consciousness. Their intensive propaganda was skilfully 
directed to this end through the Press, through students 
at foreign centres of learning, and carefully selected 
diplomatic agents, and it was greatly assisted by the 
influential support of religious and educational societies 
in England and America. It proved remarkably success- 
ful. By sheer force of reiteration, public opinion abroad 
was led to believe that the personality and political 
opinions of Sun Yat-sen had swept the Chinese people 
into new courses of conscious patriotism and an enthu- 
siastic acceptance of the social and political doctrines of 
the a Three Principles." For all that, it remains demon- 
strably true, that the original idea of Sun worship, and 
most of its subsequent developments as the political 
faith of the Southern Nationalists, originated in the 
brain of Comrade Borodin and that its appeal was 
originally confined to the westernised section of the 
Kuomintang, and particularly to Sun Yat-sen's relatives 
aild entourage, who saw in it an instrument designed to 
Aptfsolidate power in their own hands. Under their 
direction, the Cult assumed form and substance, until 
at last it became the only true faith and the recognised 
test of patriotism. Its sponsors made good use of the 


CHINA; The Pity of It 

emotional quality which distinguishes Young China's 

political enthusiasms} with equal success they appealed 
to the racial pride of the Cantonese communities over- 
seas > all eager to sec their native province assume the 
lead in raising China to a footing of equality with the 
Powers of the West* The Cult, carrying all before it> 
swept northwards, with the Cantonese Nationalist ex- 
peditio% in the summer of 1926. A^ that date, its 
doctrines were strongly coloured with the Communism 
which Sun Yat-sen had introduced into his reorganisa- 
tion of the Kuomintang, under Joffe's advice, in 1924, 
in retaliation for the naval blockade which the Powers 
Instituted at Canton in 1923 to frustrate his intention 
of seizing the revenues of the Kuangtung Customs. 
When the Northern expedition started, Chiang K'ai- 
shek, its leader, was apparently dominated by the in- 
fluence of Comrade Borodin, and the Cult,, as he 
proclaimed it, was frankly red. Addressing the Whang- 
poa Military Academy in April, 1926, he declared that 
the Chinese Revolution was organically related to 
Lenin*$ world-revolution and that the Kuomintang 
should therefore accept the direction of the Third Inter- 
national. Most of the political propaganda work of the 
expedition was entrusted by him to members of the Com- 
munist section of the Kuomintang and the Communist 
Union of Military Youth. Eventually, as events proved, 
Chiang's faith in the Kuomintang and in his own ability 
to lead and control it y led him to abandon Communist 
principles and to dispense with his Russian 
In, July, 1927, after the capture of Nanking and 
Shanghai, he expelled all Communists from the 
of the Kuomintang and broke with the Third Inter- 
national. The Russians had served his ends, and 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

ends were achieved j henceforward the Cult of Sun 
Yat~sen ? and the national policy proclaimed in his name 
by successive Kuomintang Congresses, ceased to reflect 
the direct influence of Moscow, and became the national 
creed embodying the political aspirations and opinions 
of the new ruling class. The ease and rapidity with 
which this cult and the koran o the "Three Principles" 
have been imposed upon the nation and the world 
at large, by the politicians of the Kuomintang, is a 
phenomena which not only demonstrates the political 
inertia of the Chinese masses,, but emphasises the ignor- 
ance of the western world with regard to the forces and 
tendencies at work beneath the surface of the Nationalist 

Commenting on Sun Yat-sen's spectacular State 
funeral at Nanking in June, 1929 four years after his 
deatli a writer in the Peking Lmd&r accurately, though 
perhaps unconsciously, summed up the significance of 
the imposing ceremonies at which the representatives 
of eighteen nations paid uncomfortably obsequious 
homage before the six-million-dollar mausoleum on 
the side of Purple Mountain. 

"These past four years/* he wrote, "have seen Sun Yat-sen 
transformed from a starkly determined but fallible revolu- 
tionary leader into the all-wise founder and guiding spirit of 
the Revolution, before whom all should bow and to whom 
all should turn for guidance and inspiration. Other men, 
after their death, have been transformed in^ much the same 
way and have become the symbols ^ of unity and loyalty, 
around which political or social or religious movements have 
turned* , . , It is no small gain to China that it should have 
acquired such a symbol, to which all eyes can turn, as the 
transformed Sun Yat-sen has became. Through the cen- 
turies, the visible symbol of the Throne served as the focal 
point for governmental activities and for such sense of 
national unity as existed. With the establishment of a Re- 


CHINA; The Pity of It 

public, this symbol disappeared and there was nothing to 
take its place , , . affairs were in the hands of ordinary 
men, behind whom stood no semi-mystic authority in whose 
name they could speak. That lack of a unifying symbol was 
one of the serious handicaps on the efforts^ to get the new 
regime going. In these four years since he died, Dr. Sun has 
come in no small measure to supply that lack. JThe leaders 
of to-day can and do speak and act under his agis, They |et 
from that association an authority which would otherwise 
not be theirs/' 

When it is borne in mind that, at the time of his 
death, Sun Yat~sen*s unpopularity was so great that 
Canton had cast him out and his influence overseas had 
become almost negligible, this "transformation 131 of the 
Republican leader into a unifying national symbol and 
a a seml-mystic 3? authority is a feat which speaks volumes 
for the acumen and energy of the Kuomintang poli- 
ticians and Intellectuals. Their birthright of 
political instincts has evidently suffered no elimination 
in the process of acquiring western learning* IE re- 
placing the sovereignty of the Manchus by that of the 
Kuomintang, and substituting the pontifical authority 
of Sun Yat-sen for that of the Dragon Throne,! the 
perspicacious Cantonese recognised the unmistakable 
truth, that no aspirant to power in China can hope to re- 
tain it without a background of moral authority, and 
the equally important truth that the origin and nature 
of that authority will never be closely scrutinised by 
the politically unconscious masses* Hence the apotheosis 
of "the all-wise founder and guiding spirit of the Revo- 
lution"} hence the gradual creation, by China's new 
rulers, of the cult and legend of the canonised leader, 
deliberately composed and imposed by semi-religious 
laws and ceremonies, all calculated to impress the 
"stupid people." Hence the weekly memorial 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

in honour o "our late revered leader," the mass pro- 
duction of his photograph for the use of schools and 
public offices^ and the invocation of his authority in 
justification of every phase and feature of Kuomintang 
activity. In the elaborate machinery which they have 
devised for bringing and keeping his name before the 
public at home and abroad} in the semi-sanctity ascribed 
to his last will and testament, and in the continual 
invocation of his political programme of national re- 
construction, the Kuomintang leaders are simply con- 
forming to immemorial tradition, by supplying the 
nation's instinctive need of some object of veneration, 
some rallying point to replace the Dragon Throne and 
the doctrines of the Sages. In creating a general belief 
in a moral authority higher than their own, the Can- 
tonese Intelligentsia have conformed to Chinese ideas of 
what is expected of rulers. Incidentally, they have served 
their own political ends, a,nd raised their own prestige 
and influence at home and overseas, by virtue of the fact 
that the moral authority thus created was of Cantonese 
origin and western education. Finally, it is wholly in 
accordance with the Chinese conception of the fitness of 
things, that the men and women who took the lead in 
creating and propagating the Sun Yat-sen legend, the 
originators and chief beneficiaries of the Cult,, were 
either his own family or relations by marriage, or indi- 
viduals closely identified with his political fortunes. 

It is also in accordance with the immemorial tradi- 
tions of mandarindom that when, in the tumult of the 
Revolutionary period, the semi-westernised Intelli- 
gentsia became the only organised political force in the 
country, and cast aside the canons of the Sages in favour 
of western learning, they should have adopted the 


CHINA; The Pity of It 

"Three Principles" as the gospel of their new creed. 
For the writings of China's modern sage, for all their 
garb of modernity, fulfil all the requirements of the 
classical standard in the matter of incomprehensibility, 
The political skies have changed, but the mind of the 
Oriental scholar continues to display the abiding influ- 
ences of Celestial traditions. In the "Three Principles" 
of Sun Yat-sen, it has canonised a very fitting successor 
to the Book of Changes, of which it may truthfully be 
said that none of its commentators who have discussed 
it since the days of Confucius, has ever discovered a 
satisfactory clue to the purpose or meaning of the illus- 
trious author who composed it. It is a shrewd political 
instinct which surrounds the ark of its covenant with an 
atmosphere of mystery and expounds the tablets of its 
laws in language that conveys nothing to the vulgar, 
except the voice of authority, The political Bible be- 
queathed to the nation by Sun Yat-sen (cum Borodin) 
possesses, moreover, for scholars who are fre- 

quently politicians^ the advantage that, being written 
around and about contemporary affairs, it lends itself 
even more readily than the ancient classics to interpre- 
tations which may be made to serve immediate and 
practical ends. Already, judging by the number and 
the Character of the Commentaries* which the new 
gospel has evoked (largely for consumption abroad) if 
is evident that, from the confused mass of its obscure 
ideology, vague political theories and crude economics) 
every man can extract the creed he seeks, according to 
his nature and his needs. 
This eminently adaptable quality of Sun Yat 

* e.g., Those by Chou Fu-hal, editor of the Life, Shanghai* iwnl 
by Tai Chi-tao, President of the Board of Kxamin in thr* Nutimmi 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

doctrines is curiously exemplified by their effect upon 
the minds of European observers. I do not refer to 
those who like Dr. Cantlie and Professor Reinsch) 
came under the direct influence of his persuasive per- 
sonality^ nor to the get-wise-quick type of journalists 
and publicists who write as they run, but to the serious- 
minded people missionaries, students of politics and 
sinologues who have studied the origin and tendencies 
of China's new Cult, Most of these (especially the 
missionaries) find in the text of the "Three Principles" 
confirmation of their hopes or fears, evidence of the 
long-deferred dawn of a New Era, or proof of the be- 
ginning of the end, A most notable illustration of this 
catholic adaptability occurred last year in a work* pub- 
lished with the formal benediction of the Holy See, a 
complete and profusely annotated translation of The 
Triple Damism of Sim Yat-sm> by the Rev. Father 
d'Elia^SJ., of which the Nanking Government expressed 
its approval by purchasing 5,000 copies for distribution. 
The worthy Father is not greatly concerned with the 
interpretation given to the "Liberator's" writings by his 
own political adherents and the Nationalist Government 
during the period immediately following his death. He 1 
ignores the wave of anti-foreign and anti-Christian 
feeling which swept through the country, converting 
Mission Chapels into Sun Memorial Halls, and uproot- 
ing the results of half a century of missionary effort, 
as the Cantonese armies fought and bought their trium- 
phal way to the Yangtze, in the name of the new 
Prophet It is enough for him that Sun's family in- 
sisted (md^re tout) upon his being buried with benefit 

* The Tripk Dumism of Sun Yat-sen. By Pascal M. d'Elia, S.J. 
(The Franciscan Press, Wuchang,) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

of Christian clergy* Proceeding from the indisputable 
premises that "the text of Sun Yat-sen lends itself to 
false interpretations/' and holding firmly to the belief 
that whenever it seems to be wholly irreconcilable with 
the Catholic faith, its errors can be explained away^ 
either by other passages in the text or by a Sympathetic 
appreciation* of its author's character^ he finally succeeds 
in producing "a version of the new ideas which is com- 
patible with Christian morals." To the trained mind of 
a dialectician with a definite purpose in view, the process 
could present no serious difficulty, for Sun Vat-sen was 
never at pains to reconcile the ideas which he borrowed 
from abroad before 1924, with those which he pro- 
claimed as China's new gospel after turning to Russia 
for help against his enemies. His was the 
emotional type of mind which despises consistency: 
whether as conspirator, Christia% or Muscovite Com- 
munist, he was everything by starts, and nothing long, 
Therefore, after dealing with the "Three Principles" in 
some 600 pages of 'conciliatory explanations 1 the worthy 
Father arrives quite comfortably at the conclusion that; 

". , . at the risk of seeming to utter a paradox, we think 
that, with his Triple Demism in hand, we may tell Sun Yat- 
sen, that, no matter what he says, he is neither a Communist 
nor a Socialist, but simply a Demist^ and that once cleared of 
the obscurity of formulae and the somewhat intentional am- 
biguity of terms, his Demism can, by means of a few correc- 
tions be presented in such a way that it does not oppose the 
Catholic teaching." 

Other similar examples might be cited^ though none 
perhaps so artless, of the effect of the Cult of Sun Yat- 

sen upon educated western minds y all tending to 
that the prophet whom the Intellectuals of Young China 
have canonised, and the book of which they have 

The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

the national Koran, are, on the whole, not ill-suited to 
the requirements of her ruling class and to present-day 
conditions in China. For every aspirant to power can 
find moral justification for his purposes by appealing 
to the doctrines of c our late revered leader/ and each 
of the rival factions can and does claim that its own 
particular policy represents the only genuine fulfilment 
of those doctrines. Thus, when M. Emile Vandervelde, 
the voluble Belgian Socialist, made a rapid tour of 
China last year the courteous Cicerow, who per- 
sonally conducted him on his pious pilgrimage to 
the holy places of the Revolution, were quite ready 
to confirm him in conclusions, diametrically opposed 
to those reached by Father d'Elia and approved by the 
Government at Nanking. He was convinced that the 
"Three Principles" represent "a revolutionary creed 
which, by Sun Yat-sen's own admission, is nothing more 
nor less than Socialism an adaptation of Socialism to 
the special conditions of China:* He went away from 
China greatly comforted by the belief that the doctrines 
of Karl Marx (which Sun had definitely abandoned 
before his death) had been the inspiration and driving 
force of the Nationalist movement. 

We shall have occasion again to refer to the nature 
and effects of the Cult of Sun Yat-sen when considering 
the position of the missionary in China. Suffice it here 
to say, that the inchoate mass of crude ideas which 
formed the original matter of the extemporary lectures 
(delivered in 1924. and subsequently edited into the 
*<Three Principles," for purposes of Kuomintang propa- 
ganda) has certainly never reached the illiterate masses 

* A Travws la Revolution Chinois$. By Emile Vandervelde, (Paris, 


CHINA: The Pity o It 

and that its effect upon the mind, as distinct from the 
politics, of the educated ruling class, is negligible* It is 
quite safe to assert that not one in a thousand of the 
politicians and officials who bow each week before Sun's 
portrait, has seriously studied his "Three Principles/ 1 
and probably not one in ten thousand has ever attempted 
to make sense of their arguments and conclusions. 

I need not labour the point; but it may usefully be 
illustrated, by reference to the "Outline of National Re- 
construction," a summary of Sun*s political programme 
which, by order of the Kuomintang, has been carved 
upon the wall of his Memorial Hall at Nanking* In this 
particular chapter of China's new Bible, the process of 
reconstruction is divided into three periods^ viz., the 
period of military operations, the period of political 
tutelage, and the period of constitutional Government 
a process evidently compounded by Sun out of Lin- 
coln's Gettysburg formula of government and the Con- 
fucian ideal of political evolution, from national states 
to enlightened cosmopolitanism. According to the myth 
which the Kuomintang successfully imposed upon a 
credulous world in 1929, the period of military opera- 
tions came to its appointed end with the capture of 
Peking by the Southern Nationalists and the removal 
of the capital to Nanking. The period of political tute- 
lage, or as the Kuomintang prefer to call it, the educa- 
tive period, then began. According to the decision 
promulgated by the second plenary session of the Kuo- 
mintang Central Executive Committee in June 1929, 
this period is supposed to terminate in 1935, by which 
time the education of the nation in self-government 
should be sufficiently advanced to permit of the 
tion of constitutional powers to the people. The in* 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

ventory of the educative work, to be completed during 
this period of tutelage, as set forth on the wall of the 
Memorial Hall, reads as follows: 

Article VIIL During the period of political tutelage, the 
Government shall appoint trained men, who have passed the 
civil ^service examinations, to assist the people in the several 
administrative districts (hsien) in preparing for local self- 
government. When a census of any district shall have been 
taken, the land therein surveyed, an efficient police force 
organised, roads built throughout the district, the people 
trained in the exercise of their political rights and accustomed 
to^the performance of their civic duties, according to the 

Erinciples of the Revolution, and when officers shall have 
een elected to serve as district magistrates and councillors, 
then the district shall be deemed fit for full self-government. 

I have selected this particular article out of twenty- 
five similarly fantastic flights of imagination, because it 
provides a very typical example of the mandarin mind's 
capacity for regulating in advance every conceivable 
development of purely imaginary and impossible situa- 
tions. Such things do not deceive, and are not intended 
to deceive, the native bornj but it is a matter of tradi- 
tion, and part of the political game of make-believe, that 
such utterances should be treated with the solemnity and 
deference due to Imperial Edicts, for the better beguile- 
ment of the outer barbarian. The writing on the wall 
of Sun's Memorial Hall was never meant to impress 
the Sons of Hanj they, poor devils, know only too well 
that if the period of political tutelage is to continue until 
every district has its roads built, its efficient police pro- 
vided, and its citizens trained in the' exercise of their 
political rights, the Kuomintang's 'pacific dictatorship' 
is likely to last their time. Those who give the matter a 
thought are well aware that a, Constitution, to provide 
government of the people by the people and for the 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

people, is no more intended or possible in 1935, than 
it was in 19115 they know that most of the 'trained 
men/ who are supposed to be 'assisting the people in 
preparation for local self-government/ are actually 
filling their pockets with the illicit revenues of the 
government-protected opium traffic^ and that the bandits 
and pirates who infest the land are not more danger- 
ously predatory than the self -elected leaders of the 
local Kuomintang Committees. Every Chinese mer- 
chant, every member of the educated class, knows per- 
fectly well that all this official Cult of Sun Yat-sen, and 
his "Three Principles" is part of the elaborate edifice of 
make-believe* calculated to create the impression in 
England and America, that China is rapidly progress- 
ing towards the stable and effective government of 
Washington's imagination. For them, it is all C w5nd in 
the ear/ with no more bearing on realities than the pro- 
gramme promulgated in 1929^ by Sun-Fa (Sun Yat- 
sen's son), for spending 500 million dollars a year on 
railways for the next fifty years, or the Nanking Gov- 
ernment's "enlightened scheme for the housing and 
assistance of the poor," to be carried out at once "in 
every city and town of China? 7 Such gestures no 

serious impression on the Chinese masses,, merely con- 
firming their opinion of the unchanging nature of man* 
darindom. But there is no denying that, thanks to the 
assistance rendered by their paid and unpaid propagan- 
dists abroad, especially in England and America, the 
Kuomintang has succeeded in creating a 
belief in the 'national Cult/ and all that it implies* Of 
all the many American professors, missionaries and pub- 
licists, who have written about Sun's scheme of national 
reconstruction for the enlightenment of their country- 


The Cult and Legend of Sun Yat-sen 

men, the number of those who have pointed out its 
inherent impossibility^ and the consequent insincerity of 
its sponsors, is extremely small, whereas the name is 
legion of those who have taken it in all seriousness, and 
commended it as the constructive work of earnest 
patriots. The result, especially at Washington and 
Geneva, has been to make of Sun Yat-sen a heroic figure 
and of his "Three Principles" a revolutionary gospel, as 
genuine as Rousseau's Contrat Social. For the dissemi- 
nation of these and other errors, missionaries are greatly 
to blame j but responsibility in this matter attaches 
chiefly to those writers who y because of their political 
inclinations, religious beliefs, professional duties or 
vocational idealism, have sinned against the light, bene- 
volently ignoring facts and features of the situation 
which, had they been stated, must have revealed the 
inherent absurdity of the Kuomintang's grandiloquent 
programme. Many of those who have eulogised Sun 
Yat-sen's plan of national reconstruction, have cited the 
inscription thereon in the Memorial Hall at Nanking 
as proof of its fundamental wisdom and of the value 
placed upon it by the Chinese Revolutionists, and ap- 
plauded it accordingly 5 yet very few have drawn atten- 
tion to the obvious fact that there is no sense in talking 
of training the people to the exercise of their political 
rights, so long as the Government deliberately sup- 
presses the liberty of the Press and proceeds on the 
principle (laid down by Sun himself) that "only the re- 
volutionists are entitled to enjoy political rights." Few 
if any, emphasise the elementary truth that it is absurd 
to talk of providing roads and police, public health 
authorities and garden cities, so long as the Government 
is manifestly incapable of protecting the masses against 


CHINA; The Pity of It 

bandits, gunmen, and other despoilers, 

If, as the Kuomintang leaders aver, the "Three Prin- 
ciples" interpret the mind of modern China, then indeed 

is China in a parlous state. One prefers, on the whole, 
to believe that the Cult of Sun Yat-sen is merely a 
manifestation of the Chinese mandarin's adroitness in 
protective mimicry, and that, in the secret depths of the 
minds of those who profess to reverence the Cult, it 
really represents nothing more than an imposing jerry- 
built fagade, behind which the Chinese people, leaders 
and led, may continue to pursue the changeless ways 
prescribed by immemorial tradition. 




"The greatest vicissitude of things amongst men is the 
vicissitude of sects and religions." Francis Bacon. 

a A people is no more capable of suddenly receiving a higher 
form of religion than it is capable of suddenly receiving a 
higher form of government." Herbert Spencer. 

BROADLY speaking, most of the calami ties, which together 
make the tragedy of China in the twentieth century, may 
be ascribed to the impact of the West, to the under- 
mining of the old social order by the military, economic 
and political forces brought to bear upon it from over- 
seas since the beginning of the nineteenth century. The 
long-drawn tragedies of civil strife and administrative 
chaos are no new experience for China, whose history has 
been fittingly described a,s a series of paroxysms, where 
the passing of a dynasty has repeatedly been followed 
by periods of anarchy and where the annihilation of 
millions by flood, famine* or disease has always been 
accepted as part of the inevitable destiny of mankind, 
But the cataclysm of China in the twentieth century 
differs from those of former days, in that the nation is 
now threatened with the permanent destruction of those 
things which heretofore constituted its unfailing preser- 
vatives of cohesion and recuperative energy. So long as 
the ethical foundation of the old social order remained 
intact, calamitous periods such as those which occurred 
at the close of the Ming dynasty or during the Taiping 
i ebellion, left no visible mark on the national life. To- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

day, because of the sudden uprooting of the old system 
of education and the abrupt withdrawal of moral 
authority from the Confucian literati the class which 

for centuries had given the nation its rulers and law- 
givers China confronts the future like a rudderless ship 
upon uncharted seas. Suddenly^ for lack of a rallying 
point and recognised leaders, the basis of the nation's 
culture, morals and discipline was rudely shaken; the 
cohesive element in the structure of society was threat- 
ened, and with these, for a generation at least, disap- 
peared all hope of the nation's being able to adjust itself 
successfully to its changed and changing environment, 
as Japan has done, while preserving the basic fabric of 
her own civilisation. As far back as 1898, the Great 
Viceroy, Chang Chih-tung, had warned his countrymen 
of the perils of any sudden and complete change in the 
national system of education; in his to 

Learning, he recognised the necessity for modifying the 
old 'classical' examinations by the addition of a modern 
curriculum, and for providing schools and in 

which the classic and western learning would be simul- 
taneously taught. A like prescience was shown by K'ang 
Yu-wei and Liang Ch ? i-ch'ao, the Cantonese 
scholars who inspired the Emperor Ktiang H&U's He- 
form Edicts, which precipitated the coup of I 
If the Dynasty had not collapsed, or if, after the Revo- 
lution, the Government of the country had into 
the hands of leaders possessed of the authority 
and wisdom, the process of adaptation, of 
western science on to native wisdom, might have 
gradually and successfully accomplished. As it the 
structure of Government was undermined, the 
foundations rocked under the assault of an undisci- 


The Missionary Factor 

plined iconoclasm and there was no statesmanship or 
leadership in the land to erect on the solid basis of 
China's own civilisation a new system of Government 
adjusted to a changed environment. Herein lies a root 
cause of the tragedy of present-day China, and the pity 
of it 

The evidences of disintegration and disruption are 
many and increasing. The ascendancy of the Cantonese 
faction, culminating in the dictatorship of the Kuomin- 
ta,ng, the hybrid Cult of Sun Yat-sen, replacing the 
moral authority of the Confucian code, the aggressive 
indiscipline of the Student Movement and the sinister 
character of Kuomintang propaganda, are each and all 
phenomena that can be traced back to the impact of the 
West, To some extent, no doubty the process of disrup- 
tion may be ascribed to causes latent in the nature of 
the Chinese people, to the inevitable pride of race and 
the deep-rooted conservatism which have hampered 
them in acquiring, as Japan has done, the material 
technique and the machinery of western civilisation. To 
some extent, it must also be ascribed to the fact that the 
first impact of the West occurred at a time when the 
authority of the Throne focus of the Chinese social 
system was shaken and visibly weakening. But the in- 
vasions of China's territory by armed forces with which 
she was unable to cope, the imposition of Treaties which 
limited the full exercise of her sovereign rights, the 
shrinking of her frontiers as, one by one, her out- 
lying Dependencies succumbed to the political schemes 
or the economic necessities of her neighbours all 
these were surface ills from which she might, in time, 
have recovered, as she had often done in the past. But 
the alien forces which have led the dominant section of 

71 F 

CHINA; The Pity of It 

the educated class to abandon at this critical juncture the 
basic principles and traditions which have kept China 
true to herself throughout all the vicissitudes of her 
history, the insidious invasions of subversive ideas 3 
undermining the nation's reverence for those things 
which have given such stability and harmony to her 
civilisation for these and other results^ there is at 
present no apparent remedy. These constitute^ indeed, 
the most disruptive force which the impact of the West 
has produced, and the chief cause of the prevailing 
chaos. And for these the Missionary Societies must be 
held chiefly responsible. The religious and humanitarian 
element of western civilisation which, wisely directed, 
would have provided a guiding and restraining force for 
the Chinese in their hour of need, has actually aggra- 
vated the perils inseparable from a revolutionary period 
and hastened the process of disruption* 

It is difficult, amidst the conflicting sympathies and 
antipathies inevitably evoked by the discussion of mis- 
sionary activities, to preserve the even tenor of philo- 
sophic enquiry and to avoid incurring the i/wolo- 
gictm. It is not my intention, nor is it necessary for the 
purposes of this book y to trace the history of Europe's 
cultural contacts with China through missionary enter- 
prise, or to strike a balance sheet of the resultant benefits 
and penalties which have accrued to the Chinese people, 
inasmuch as our purpose is confined to consideration of 
the course of events in China since the Washington 
Conference and to an analysis of the principal 
of the political and administrative disorganisation which 
has prevailed and increased during the list decade. 

At the outset, we are confronted by the fact that 
responsibility lies chiefly with the powerful religious 


The Missionary Factor 

and educational societies in the United States, and to 
some extent in Great Britain, for the errors and miscon- 
ceptions upon which the Washington Conference pro- 
ceeded to its conclusions and agreements. To the 
activities of these societies, combined with Kuomintang 
propaganda^ must be ascribed the false ideas about 
Chinese "Nationalism," which inspired the hope that, 
guaranteed by international covenant from foreign 
aggression, China would develop "the free institu- 
tions of a self-governing Republic." When, with- 
out fear or favour, the future historian comes to* allot 
the blame for the anarchy which has followed in the 
wake of this Nationalist movement, and for the vio- 
lently anti-foreign and anti-Christian spirit which it 
developed after 1924, he is likely to ascribe it in a very 
large measure to the educational and political activities 
of the missionary organisations, and especially to those 
of the American Protestant Societies. The policy adopted 
at Washington^ as I have already shown, reflected a 
combination of altruistic ideals with the pursuance of 
purely American interests, but the misconceptions, by 
virtue of which this policy was imposed on the Confer- 
ence, are directly traceable to the influence of the mis- 
sionary and c uplift ? societies in America and Great 
Britain. I propose to show that this influence, inspired 
by well-meaning but misguided sentiment, has already 
done infinite harm, and that, in spite of a noticeable re- 
action of opinion since i92-7y its unfortunate activities 
still persist, It is an influence which errs, on the one 
hand, from the very fervour of its benevolent inten- 
tions; on the other, from failure to appreciate the im- 
mutable character of the mentality and morality which 
have been produced by centuries of severe economic 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

pressure in China, and which find continual expression 
in every phase and movement of the national life. It 
errs because the theological bias, which inevitably pre- 
judices sociological questions, in China's case persistently 
ignores the elemental truth, that a a people is no more 
capable of suddenly receiving a higher form of religion 
than it is of receiving a higher form of government" 
and that any "attempt to impose such a religion or such a 
government inevitably leads to a process of degradation 
which eventually reduces it to something different only 
in name from its predecessor.^* 

Before proceeding to discuss the part which the Pro- 
testant Missionary organisations have played in calling 
from China's vasty deep the unruly spirit of "National- 
ism," which now threatens to destroy the body politic, 
and with it the fruits of a century of missionary labour, 
let us consider briefly the historical record of that 
century, and its evangelical results. The first Protestant 
Missionary to gain a footing in China was an 
Englishman, Robert Morrison, who came to Canton 
in 1807. Confined within the narrow limits of the 
factory 'compounds/ he and those who came after him 
were unable to make any progress with evangelistic 
workj they contented themselves therefore with learn- 
ing the Chinese language and translating the Scrip- 
tures. When the first Treaty Ports were thrown open 
to foreigners, after the war of 1842, the number of 
converts enrolled was six. When, by the Treaty of 
Tientsin, after another war, missionaries obtained the 
right to reside in the interior, there were twenty-four 
societies in the field, employing some two hundred 
missionaries, Between 1860 and the Boxer of 

* Herbert Spencer, Tfo Study of Sociology* 


The Missionary Factor 

1900, the field expanded and the number of workers 
steadily increased j again, after the Empress Dowager, 
chastened by defeat, had returned to Peking in 1902, 
interest in China was greatly stimulated and resulted in 
a rapid extension of missionary enterprise. This was 
further accelerated by the abolition of the Confucian 
Classics as the foundation of learning in 1905 and by 
the course of events which culminated in the Revolution 
of 1911, In 1906, a century after Morrison's arrival at 
Canton^ there were sixty-four societies with 34.45 
workers in the field, 52 per cent of these being British 
and 43 per cent American; the number of baptised con- 
verts was then given as 178,261, and the total of pro- 
fessing Christians at 256,779. In 1 91 8, the total number 
of Protestant missionaries in China was 6325. At the 
National Christian Conference of 1922, it was reported 
that the Christian Community numbered 806,000 j there 
were 130 societies in the field, many of which were 
devoting special attention to educational and medical 
work. At the end of 1925, when the Nationalist forces 
and their Bolshevist allies were preparing for their 
campaign against the Northern Militarists, the number 
of missionaries had increased to 8158. In the words of 
the anonymous author of the article on Protestant 
Missions published in the China Year Book for 1931: 

. . the period 1^907-1922 registered a tremendous 
advance in organisational Christian relationships and in 
the range of Christian activities. It should perhaps be noted 
also that during this period the relative strength of British 
and American work and workers changed. In numerical 
strength and educational effort, American missionaries took 
the lead, though in literary effort and medicine, the British 
still retain it. This change correlates with, and is to some 
extent due to the rapid rise in economic power of America 
during this same penod, 


CHINA; The Pity of It 

The same writer observes that at the National Chris- 
tian Conference of 1922, half the delegates were 
Chinese,, and in all institutions and Christian organisa- 
tions their initiative was increasingly in evidence. "The 
mission, as such," he wrote, "is gradually being merged 
into the Chinese Church, though the process is far from 
being finished. It is also of interest to note that Chris- 
tians play their part in the National Government, This 
is one of the important indirect ways whereby Chris- 
tianity influences and contributes to the rebuilding of 
China." To the part which Christians have played in 
the National Government^ and to the political fruit born 
of missionary activities in the field of education, we shall 
refer in due course. 

It will be observed that the first notable expansion of 
Protestant missionary labour coincided with China's 
defeat at the hands of the foreign invader* To this 
circumstance must be ascribed in large measure the 
fact that the propagation of Christianity excited 
the hostility of people and rulers from the begin- 
ning, and that the good seed of the Gospel was 
foredoomed to fall, as a rule, on stony ground* 
In 1868, when Anson Burlingamc visited the United 
States as China's Envoy Plenipotentiary, he aroused 
the enthusiasm of the American people by declar- 
ing that China was "ready to invite their Mission- 
aries to plant the Shining Cross on every hill and in 
every valley" j with the eye of faith he descried "China 
extending her arms towards the shining banners of west- 
ern civilisation." A year later, Prince Kung, bidding fare- 
well to Sir Rutherford Alcock on his departure from 
Peking, expressed China's real sentiments by saying, 
"Take away your opium and missionaries and you will 


The Missionary Factor 

be welcome," The Chinese Government of that day had 
good reason to feel resentment and apprehension re- 
sentment because of the support given by certain mis- 
sionaries to the Taiping rebels, and because the alleged 
Christian aspiration of that movement was still fresh 
in their minds; apprehension, because they regarded the 
missionaries as the instruments of powerful nations, bent 
on despoiling the Empire. As a well-informed writer 
put it, in the eyes of the Chinese, 

, . >t they enter the country with the talisman of extra-terri- 
toriality their persons are sacred; the law of the land cannot 
touch them . . . many missionaries are really zealous in 
alienating the Chinese from their natural allegiance. . . . 
Thus a revolution of the most vital nature is in progress, 
and is being pushed on with all the energy which Christian, 
combined with ecclesiastical and political, zeal can throw into 
the work. So formidable, indeed, have the missionaries be- 
come, that most of the provincial authorities are afraid as 
well as jealous of them.* 

Anti-Christian riots and outrages in all parts of the 
country synchronised with Mr. Burlingame's assurances 
of China's eagerness to welcome Christianity and 
western civilisation^ and a violently abusive leaflet, 
circulated throughout the Empire from Hunan in 1 869, 
emphasised the hostile attitude of all classes. From the 
date of the Tientsin massacre of missionaries in 1870, 
down to those which followed the Boxer rising of 1900, 
the whok history of missionary enterprise bears un- 
deniable evidence of the truth that, regardless of creed 
or nationality, it was cordially detested by the Chinese 
people, and feared by the official class. 

Such was the political aspect of the question at the close 
of the nineteenth century j let us now glance at the 

* Alexander MicMe- The Englishman in China. (1900.) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

evangelistic results of a hundred years of labour in^the 
Celestial vineyard. In 1906, the number of baptised 
Christians, as reported to the Centenary Conference, 
was 178,261, and the total Christian community 
256,779. In general, the Report stated, "opposition had 
waned; Christianity had won a foothold in China." A 
foothold which was represented by a proportion of less 
than one convert per 1500 of the population, could 
only satisfy vocational optimism of the type which 
attaches less importance to the experience of a hundred 
yesterdays, than to its visions of a miraculous to- 
morrow. The Conference was greatly encouraged by the 
fact that the Boxer rising and massacres had stirred 
Western Christianity to renewed efforts on an increased 
scale. But these new efforts, and the policy of those who 
directed them, were, generally speaking, inspired by 
consciousness of the sterility of the Celestial vineyard 
as regards purely evangelistic work. During the period 
between the Missionary Conference of 1906, and that 
of 1922, the number of societies, represented in China 
increased from 64 to 1305 at the same time, educational 
work, which in the nineteenth century had been subsi- 
diary to the preaching of Christianity^ assumed more 
and more importance- In 1905* the number of Pro- 
testant Mission Schools was 2585, of which 14 (ia 
American, and 2 British) were of collegiate standing} 
the number of pupils was then 58,000, of whom 9909 
were girls. In 1920, the number of schools and 
had increased to 7046, with 213,000 students.* During 
this period the number of communicants increased by 
about 100 per cent, a result unmistakably ascribablc to 

* In 1026, before the policy of the Kuomintang became violently 

anti-Christian, the number had increased to nearly 300,000 and in 
Roman Catholic schools to 3850,000, 

The Missionary Factor 

the readiness of students to accept the profession of 
Christianity as incidental to their education in western 
J earning. The remission of part of the Boxer indemnity 
by the United States Government in 1908, and of the 
balance in 1924, c m order further to develop the educa- 
tional and other cultural activities of China/ provided 
a notable stimulus for the movement which, in the 
absence of a direct demand for Christianity, hoped to 
supply it as a by-product of secular education. The 
National Christian Conference of 1922 emphasised the 1 
necessity for putting missionary establishments upon a 
Chinese basis, and for building up a unified Chinese 
Churchy controlled by native Christians, to whom the 
mission work would eventually be entrusted. As the 
Nationalist movement developed,, under the nominally 
Christian Sun Yat-sen, and with it the violently anti- 
foreign and anti-religious sentiments of the Kuomin- 
tang leaders, these tendencies were rapidly stimulated. 

Under these conditions, as the interest of the mis- 
sionary and cultural workers concentrated on the educa- 
tion of Young China, as the number of Chinese students 
under American tuition increased in China and in the 
United States, and as the finished product of this educa- 
tion, the present-day Intellectuals, came to assume more 
and more importance in their country's politics and 
public affairs^ the sympathies of the Missions concerned, 
both in their Home Boards and their personnel in China, 
were bound to become more and more closely identified 
with the political and patriotic aspirations of their in- 
tellectual offspring, the shock troops of their cultural 
conquest.* It was equally inevitable, as events speedily 
proved, that these sympathies should find expression 

* Vifo Nathaniel Peffer, China, The Collapse of a Civilisation, p. 133* 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

in active support for these political aspirations tendered 
by a highly organised body of opinion representing re- 
ligious, educational and cultural organisations in the 
United States and (on a smaller scale) in Great Britain. 
"What you put into the School, you get out of the 
State/' says Humboldt The immediate future of China, 
inextricably bound up with the mentality and morality 
of her rulers, the educated class, was evidently depen- 
dent in large measure upon the nature of the education 
thus supplied, and the qualifications of the men who 
supplied it. There were many missionaries^ especially 
amongst the older men, who realised that, in order to 
produce an orderly and stable evolution in the 
generation a gradual fusion of Chinese with western 
culture, it was essential not to destroy the foundations 
of intellectual discipline and morality provided by the 
old national culture, but to build upon them a super- 
structure of new knowledge and new ideals, that would 
carry conviction to the Chinese mind. In other words, 
that, for western learning to be a, constructive and not it 
destructive f orce^ it must be imparted by men 
of a sound knowledge of Confucian literature and sym- 
pathy for the system of ethics and morals which it 
represents, This aspect of the case was clearly 
nised by a number of men prominently identified with 
the educational activities of British Missions. It was 
particularly emphasised by the group of University pro- 
fessors and divines which, in 19167 endeavoured to 
funds in England and America with a view to founding 
a great central University in China, for the provision 
of education conducted on sociological principles 
with due regard to the things worth preserving in the 
national traditional culture and morality. The aspira- 

The Missionary Factor 

tion, however, came to nought. 

Without endorsing in its entirety the opinion of the 
British ex-Ambassador, referred to by Professor Paul 
Monroe^ which ascribes all China's present troubles to 
the influence of American Mission Schools and to the 
Chinese students educated in America, it is safe to say 
that, in so far as they have striven to undermine the old 
morality, based on the Confucian system of ethics and 
the family, they have been, and are, powerful instru- 
ments of social disintegration and therefore responsible 
for much of the indiscipline prevailing in the younger 
generation and the general disorder thereby produced. 
Broadly speakingy every Chinese youth educated in 
American Mission Schools has been a carrier of the germs 
Df disruption. He has usually been taught to despise the 
wisdom of his forefathers, reject the cult of ancestors 
ind with it the traditions and standards which, as a 
French observerf rightly says, "have given to China's 
:ivilisation and to the life of her people 1 a stability and 
harmony never excelled in the history of mankind." In 
place of the traditional principles of the Confucianist 
family and clan system, his mind has been imbued with 
the doctrines of a denationalised individualism, with re- 
sults that have been plainly demonstrated by the self- 
assertive indiscipline and frank materialism of the 
student class, and by the violent hostility to foreigners 
displayed by the younger generation of politicians edu- 
:ated in American schools. 

It is worthy of note, and a sign of good omen, that, 
in the Report compiled by the League of Nations' 
Mission of Educational Experts to China, published by 

* Paul Monroe, China, a Nation in Evolution. (1927.) 
f Emile Hovelaque, La Chine, (1920,) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

the League's Institute of Intellectual Co-operation 
(Paris, 1932), the four professors engaged in this 
Mission definitely deprecate the attempt to Americanise, 
or even to Europeanise, China by means of imported 
educational systems. They deplore the fact that "the 
officials responsible for public education in China have 
allowed the teaching programmes and methods of the 
United States to supersede, without transition, the 
centuries-old wisdom and learning of China?* 

"A considerable number of young Chinese Intel- 
lectuals," they observe^ "imitate the outward forms of 
American life without appearing to realise that Ameri- 
canism springs from conditions that are peculiar to 
America a,nd entirely different from those that prevail 
in China. . . . The old Chinese traditions are rightly 
considered out of date. Most of the springs of China's 
own civilisation have run dry* At the same time one 
cannot but deprecate the tendency to misunderstand and 
underestimate their educational value. It Is in its 
literature* whether it be philosophical, historical or 
poetical, that the spirit of a nation is expressed- To re- 
place these traditions by the products of a foreign 
civilisation, would be to disregard the spontaneous rela- 
tion between the mentality of a people and its cultural 

Furthermore, these four professors in 
"representing four different springs of European 
culture," came to the significant conclusion that lf the 
cultural conditions of Europe are more suitable than 
American conditions for adaptation to Chinese require* 
ments because, precisely, American civilisation has 
developed m spita of a total absence of local traditions, 
whereas European, like Chinese, civilisation, mu*t 


The Missionary Factor 

always take count of local traditions dating back 
thousands of years. There should be no misunderstand- 
ing herej we do not wish to see European educational 
methods substituted for those imported from America. 
We merely wish to emphasise 1 our belief that no form 
of civilisation which has developed in another land, and 
in different conditions, can become the cultural tradition 
of the China that is now entering upon an era of reform, 
New China must mobilise its forces^ and from its own 
history, from its own literature, from all that is truly 
indigenous, extract the materials for a new civilisation 
that will be neither American nor European, but 

It is impossible to overlook the uncomfortable fact 
that the unfortunate results of misguided proselytis- 
ing zeal are often attributable to the personal factor, 
to the character and mentality of many of the men 
and women earnest, hard-working altruists, though 
they be who have laboured to uplift and save Young 
China by means of an American education. On a deli- 
cate subject such as this I refrain from invoking the 
results of my own fairly wide observations of missionary 
educational methods and their results, but will confine 
myself to quoting the opinions of American observers,' 
qualified by direct experience to write with knowledge 
on the subject. 

After studying the actual conditions in China in 1928 
and 1929, Mr. Nathaniel Peffer,. a graduate of 
Chicago University, wrote as follows: * 

The curriculum of an American college, duplicated exactly 
in a Chinese college, does not have the same content. It does 

* China, the Collapse of a Civilisation. By Nathaniel Peffer. (Rout- 
ledge, 1931.) 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

not communicate the same meaning or spirit. It cannot, c for 
it lacks the background, which cannot be translated into 
words, and for which words are lacking, for it is the heritage 
of a race. . . . What has happened, then, in China is that 
for all practical purposes there is^now no education at all and 
there has been none for a generation, none that is, that carries 
the conviction of the old. 

Reference has already been made to the missionaries* share 
in exposing the weakness of the Chinese Government to the 
Chinese people and thus contributing to its loss of authority. 
They have had a much more active share in the more serious 
disintegration now under discussion. . * * 

Referring to the desire for western learning^ which 
began after the Sino- Japanese war, he observes: 

Every Mission School was an instrument of denationalisa- 
tion. Ihe pupils were taught, not as Chinese children pre- 
paring to share in the life of the Chinese race, but as Ameri- 
can children, and with all the limitations of American school- 
ing before it was vitalised by the unorthodox theories of the 
last twenty-five years* Of literature, the Chinese children 
learned English literature. Of history, the^ learned American 
history. . , . Except in the English Mission schools, which 
were a minority and could not command such lavish donations 
from the pious at home, the cosmology was that of a world 
which began in all earnestness in 1776. And it is not too much 
of a caricature to say that thousands of Chinese children grew 
to the age of sixteen without any clear knowledge that there 
had ever existed on this planet more than three men worthy 
of emulation Christ, George Washington and Abraham 
Lincoln. . . . 

Again, Dr. Paul Monroe., Professor of Education at 
the Teachers 7 College of Columbia University^ through 
whose classes have passed a large number of Chinese 
students, observes: * 

"The disintegration of the family unity j* the most signi- 
ficant change now going on in modern China, This change 

underlies and accompanies all the economic, political, indus- 
trial and social changes and in a large degree, missions have 

* China, a Nation in Evolution, By Paul Monroe, (Maemiltai, 1937*} 


The Missionary Factor 

contributed to this disintegrating force. Whatever of unity 
and stability the new China may possess, replacing the well- 
knit unity and stability of the old, will depend upon the 
quality of the individualism dominating the new order 
Modern missions have had a large share in creating this new 
individualism; have attempted to develop some of the new 
requisites. Whether this effort has been sufficient to with- 
stand the strain, is now being tested and will ultimately be 

These words were written in 1927, that is to say, at a 
time when the new individualism of the Nationalist 
movement was beginning to express itself in manifesta- 
tions of violent hostility to foreigners and to Chris- 
tianity, with results which led to the withdrawal of the 
great majority of missionary workers from the field of 
their labours and to the confiscation or destruction of 
schools, churches, hospitals and mission property gener- 
ally. Throughout the critical period which began with 
the Association of militant Nationalism (under Sun Yat- 
sen and other nominally Christian leaders of the Kuo- 
mintang), with the anti-Imperial doctrines of Bolshe- 
visi% the type of individualism displayed by the 
westernised section of Young China, has been such as to 
vindicate completely the opinion expressed of it by Prince 
I to twenty years before. The "crudity and violence of 
the doctrines which they teach" he ascribed chiefly 
to the fact that, while imbued with western ideas, they 
had become so largely estranged from the old Chinese 
conceptions, that they lost contact with the Chinese point 
of view almost as if they were themselves foreigners by 
birth. "They have therefqre scarcely any roots in the 
country, and can hardly be regarded as a class capable 
of directing and controlling any practical course of 
action/ 7 Whatever might be the fears and misgivings 
of a minority, it was inevitable that the majority of 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

missionary educators should identify itself with the 
political aspirations of Young China, especially as, in the 
case of the Americans, these aspirations were the direct 
and natural product of their own teachings. Without 
antagonising the student class and exposing themselves 
to the charge of Imperialism, they could not consistently 
refuse to subscribe to the political programme, based on 
the doctrines of self-determination and racial equality, 
which they themselves had inculcated. They had hitched 
their wagon to the star of Chinese Nationalism, and 
pinned their faith to the regenerating influences of 
western learning and Christianity, to produce a type of 
official able and willing to build up the Republic on the 
foundations of American principles. This being their 
position, they were irrevocably pledged to optimism^ 
compelled to shut their eyes to such facts and phases of 
the Nationalist movement as might conflict with it* 
They were bound to hope, if not to believe, that the 
Young China of their making, inspired by the traditional 
loyalty of the pupil to his teacher, would justify the 
faith that was in them and eventually give to China the 
honest and effective government she needs. They were 
bound, by the very nature of their vocation, to believe 
that every Chinese Christian must have the makings of 
a good official} and even when the careers of notable 
leaders, such as Sun Yat-sen and Feng Yu-hsiang, and 
even of prominent Chinese evangelists, proved the 
delusiveness of this belief, they were compelled to 
find excuses for the backslider's fall from grace* 
As an American observer of great experience has ex- 
pressed it, "the missionary misrepresents conditions in 
China to justify his own continued existence and resi- 
dence in the country and to earn the goodwill of the 


The Missionary Factor 

Chinese for his movement. A missionary who is indis- 
creet enough to say publicly what he really knows and 
thinks of the Chinese and their mental processes^ is 
raising barriers against the Christianisation of China., by 
engendering hostility to his society or his Church among 
the Chinese, and is therefore little better than a traitor 
to the cause."* 

The missionary workers in the interior and their 
Home Boards, being thus vocationally identified with 
the Nationalist movement, devoted themselves in many 
cases to promoting it, by active and direct intervention 
in China's domestic and foreign politics, and generally 
with more zeal than discretion. Even before the Wash- 
ington Conference, the nature and force of this inter- 
vention had been unmistakably manifested. For ex- 
ample, at the critical juncture of Yuan Shih-kai's 
attempt to re-establish the Monarchy in his own person, 
it was brought to bear against him with marked effect. 
Professor Holcombe of Harvard (himself conspicuously 
identified with Kuomintang policies) records the fact 
that "Americans took a sentimental interest in the Re- 
publican experiment in China and their missionaries 
especially were filled with regret at its imminent failure 
and extended sympathy and encouragement to the oppo- 
nents of a restoration of monarchy."f 

From 1923 to 1927, even after the Republican ex- 
periment had become dangerously entangled with Bol- 
shevism, this 'sympathy and encouragement 3 became 
more and more actively manifested. Discussing it, and 
the general effects of missionary interference in China's 

* Rodney Gilbert, What's Wrong with China? (Murray, 1926.) 
f The Chinese Revolution. By A. N. Holcombe. (Harvard University 
Press, 1930.) 

87 G 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

international relations, another American writer* ex- 
plains the missionary policy by observing that they were 
constrained to make one concession after another, in all 
good faith, rather than see the work, to which they had 
devoted their lives, swept to destruction. Ever hoping 
to avert that destruction, they adopted a course of action 
which, as events proved, brought it swiftly upon them. 
To quote this writer: 

"By letters to their Boards and Churches and friends at 
home, by newspaper and by magazine articles, and by lecture 
tours when they visited their homelands, the Missionaries 
have been the unwitting tools and invaluable assistants of 
the propagandists who were trying to hoodwink the rest of 
the world about China. They tragically assisted in their own 
undoing, and helped to build up, particularly in the United 
States, in Great Britain and Canada, a public sentiment 
decidedly averse to any intervention in China, no matter Jiow 
severe the provocation. The Missionary meddling in political 
affairs, in many unfortunate cases, went even Farther than 
this. In many missionary institutions, the^ Nationalist pro- 
gramme was secretly encouraged in territories not yet under 
the Nationalist control, and hundreds and hundreds of Young 
Chinese in Mission Schools, Colleges and other institutions 
came to believe that the Nationalist movement was China's 
only hope." 

Here let me digress to observe' how faithfully history 
has repeated itself in this matter. For the situation thus 
created runs parallel, in all essentials^ to that which 
existed at the time of the Taiping Rebellion. Referring 
to the support then given by many missionaries to the 
rebel cause, The. Times Correspondent, George Win- 
grove Cook, wrote, in 1857, t^t "amidst the outpour- 
ings of blood, in famine and pestilence,, in the wreck of 
all the physical good which antiquity has wrought, our 
missionaries think they see a hope for the religion of 

* Tortured China. By Hallett Abend. (Allen and Unwin, 

The Missionary Factor 

the Bible." Now, after seventy years of experience has 
resulted in persuading a large majority of the Missionary 
Societies to subordinate evangelical to educational 
activities, we find them fervently supporting Young 
China's claims for the immediate abolition of extra- 
territoriality and the 'unequal Treaties/ in the hope that, 
having achieved its political and patriotic aspirations, 
the Nationalist leaders will display their gratitude in 
gestures of goodwill, or at least of tolerance, towards 

Early in 1926, the anti-foreign direction of the 
Nationalist movement, instigated and directed by the 
Left Wing of the Kuomintang and its Russian advisers, 
assumed an anti-Christian attitude of unmistakable 
violence, which found significant expression in the 
shameful treatment meted out by the Cantonese to the 1 
Christian College and Hospital at Canton and to the 
Stout Memorial Hospital at Wuchow. Nevertheless, 
all through the summer of that year, the Missions, as 
a whole.y continued to render active support to the 
Nationalist cause. It would be difficult to cite a more 
amazing paradox than that which was presented at this 
period by the central directorates of powerful American 
educational and religious societies, openly extending 
their sympathy and moral support to a Chinese revolu- 
tionary movement, organised and financed by that anti- 
Christian Soviet Government, with which Washington 
had declined, on moral grounds, to hold any relations. 
This sympathy and support, energetically reinforced 
by Kuomintang propaganda, led to a very general mis- 
conception in the Amercian and British Press, with 
regard to Chinese affairs in general and the Nationalist 
movement in particular. 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

There were, o course^ many trustworthy observers 
of the situation journalists, missionaries and mer- 
chants who realised the real tendencies and signifi- 
cance of the Nationalist movement, and who en- 
deavoured to break through this conspiracy of silence j 
but all their efforts were of no avail against the mass 
production of the Mission Boards 7 organised propaganda 
on the one hand, and the measures of repression and 
intimidation adopted by the Kuomintang on the other. 
For reasons to which I shall refer in due course, the 
actual conditions, as reported by American Consular 
officials and other competent observers,, were never made 
available for the information of the general public. As 
one independent American journalist* indignantly 
observed, "American officialdom in China has been 
abominably treated by the Washington Administration. 
Consular and diplomatic reports have furnished more 
than enough material to shape public opinion, if the 
Government cared to fa.ce conditions honestly by giving 
out the information at its disposal. Instead of which, 
the Administration suppresses facts, denies knowledge 
of them in public utterances, and smugly pretends to 
follow public opinion in its policy." Public opinion, in 
this case, consisted chiefly of the Middle West Church 
vote. Mr. Frederick Moore, Correspondent of the Nm> 
'York Times, definitely charged the Mission Boards with 
influencing the missionaries "to save face for China at 
the cost of veracity. 77 "The Boards, 77 he said^ "as a group, 
had lost their balance, particularly over the Nationalist 
movement . . the missionaries who appealed for 
American friendship for the Nationalist cause, making 

* Rodney Gilbert, Peking Correspondent of the North China Daily 
News, subsequently "proscribed" by the Nanking Government and 
compelled to leave Cluna. 


The Missionary Factor 

light of the part which the Bolsheviks were playing in 
the organisation, influenced our Government's attitude." 
Another American observer, writing in the North China 
Herald, declared that "in America, the deliberate mis- 
leading of the public had been nothing short of iniqui- 
tous. Efforts made by reputable bodies of Americans, 
to get the truth over to the people of America, have 
been suppressed." The Reverend Edgar Strother^ 
General Secretary of the China Christian Endeavour 
Union,, brought upon himself severe criticism and re- 
bukes from several Mission Boards in America, and a 
demand for his deportation from a number of Kuomin- 
tang politicians, for exposing some of the methods by 
which the Soviet Government was making use of the 
political activities of the National Christian Council (of 
which body more anon) to promote its ends and those of 
the Nationalist leaders. 

"It is amazing," wrote Mr, Strother, "to those of us who 
are familiar with the situation in China, to see how thor- 
oughly the American public has been deceived as to the real 
facts. It is certainly evident that the Bolsheviks, with the 
effective aid of the so-called National Christian Council have 
very nearly succeeded in pulling the wool over the eyes 
of the Americans. Evidence of this Red propaganda in the 
United States is now abundant. For example, in an inter- 
view on his way from America, in Tokyo, the Editor of the 
Peking Leader, Mr. Grover Clark, tells of his strenuous cam- 
paign of lectures in the principal cities of the United States 
for the Foreign Policy Association and of his testimony 
before the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate in 
Washington, in which he urged the revision of the unequal 
Treaties, etc. Mr. Clark asserts that no political party will 
dare to put a plank for a strong China policy in its platform 
for the 1928 campaign, because the public is almost unani- 
mously against such a plank. It is very interesting to learn 
that in the raid of the Soviet premises in^Peking, receipts 
for several hundred dollars a month were discovered, signed 
by Grover Clark." 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

In an article in the Atlantic Monthly for July, 1927, 
when the political objectives of the Cantonese Kuo- 
mintang and the moral effect of its successful northern 
expedition were beginning to be realised, I drew atten- 
tion to this aspect of the situation, and especially to the 
result of the sympathy displayed by public opinion in 
America for the political activities of a faction, largely 
financed by Moscow and openly identified with Bolshe- 
vist propaganda. I pointed out that "encouraged by 
this sympathy and by the peace-at-any-price attitude 
of the British Government (as manifested in the Han- 
kow Concession agreement) the Cantonese wing of the 
Kuomintang now makes no secret of its intention to 
go much farther than the abolition of the foreigners' 
extra-territorial rights. (An outline of the party's pro- 
gramme, embodying Bolshevist principles and advice, 
had been set forth in resolutions drafted for the 
People's Conference.)* It required some courage for 
an American editor to print an article running counter 
to the strong current of public opinion then prevailing, 
but its publication revealed the fact that a considerable 
section of the missionary opinion on the spot, though 
precluded by the policy of the Home Boards from 
expressing itself publicly, was distinctly opposed to 
that policy and fearful of its consequences. One mis- 
sionary, recently returned to the States after five years' 
residence in the interior of China,, gave forcible utter- 
ance to these views in a letter to the Editor of the 

"Since my return home/ 5 he wrote, "I have been aston- 
ished and dismayed at the amount of misleading, vicious 

* Vide China and the Nations. By Wang Ching-wei, Chairman of 
the Kuomintang Executive Committee. 


The Missionary Factor 

propaganda that has been and still is being broadcasted 
throughout the country by Chinese students, and others, 
on behalf of the so-called 'Nationalist' party in China. As 
Mr^Bland points out, the political activities of the Cantonese 
faction do not represent a real awakening of national con- 
sciousness and genuine patriotic ideals. What the Cantonese 
faction does represent, is a skilfully imposed and wholly arti- 
ficial state of mind among millions of lovable, friendly 
Chinese who, bewildered by the delusion of the Republic, 
ground down by rapacious officials, overrun, looted, raped 
and impressed by armed coolie mercenaries, at last in despera- 
tion, are led to believe by lying tongues that, somehow, the 
foreigner is at the bottom of all the trouble." 

At the end of 1925, when Chiang K'ai-shek, with the 
help of Moscow, was preparing his Nationalist army 
for the military expedition against the North, there was 
unmistakable evidence of a concerted policy on the part 
of a number of religious and educational societies to 
bring their powerful influence to bear upon the nego- 
tiations then proceeding between China and the Treaty 
Powers, with a view to supporting the Nationalist poli- 
ticians in their demand for the abolition of the unequal 
Treaties. At a conference on American relations with 
China, held at Baltimore on September 2Oth y a report 
of the International Missionary Council was adopted by 
a majority of the delegates present. Opinion was 
divided as to whether the abolition of extra-territoriality 
should be by one stroke, or by progressive steps, but the 
general sense of the meeting was definitely in favour 
of America assuming a position of vigorous leadership 
in these international negotiations, and if necessary, an 
independent line in support of China's political aspira- 
tions. Every effort was accordingly made to bring 
moral pressure to bear upon the representatives of the 
Powers in Conference and on the Governments behind 
them ? for the benefit of the westernised class of students^ 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

politicians and aspirants to office, the class which owes its 
origin, and most of its influence abroad, to missionary 
activities, and which, as represented by astute diplo- 
mats, such as Mr. Alfred Sze or Dr. Wellington Koo, 
has succeeded in creating abroad a fantastically mis- 
leading impression of modern China. 

It is difficult to account for the attitude and actions of 
these Missionary Boards at this period without imputing 
to them a bias of class or of profession, in other words, 
without incurring the charge of cynicism. It is indeed 
difficult to avoid an inclination to cynicism, when one 
contemplates the spectacle presented by the great re- 
ligious and educational organisations of the United 
States, fervently commending and comforting the cause 
of Chinese Nationalism, at a time when the class of 
students turned out by American Universities had 
already given unmistakable proof of its anti-Christian 
sentiments and complete lack of discipline* Making 
every allowance for the sincerity of the sentimental 
idealism and "uplifting" energy of the general member- 
ship of these religious and educational societies, it is im- 
possible to overlook the fact that those who directed 
their political activities persistently misrepresented the 
nature of the Nationalist movement together with its 
Bolshevik associations^ and the attitude of the western- 
educated student class. Because of those activities, the 
missionary societies were (and are) undeniably respon- 
sible for the predominance of a class of politicians which 
had by then proved, not only its complete indifference 
to the bitter sufferings of the Chinese people, but its in- 
capacity for rulership and its unwillingness to be ruled. 
Granted that it was not to be expected that the evan- 
gelists and educationalists on the spot, or their reprc- 


The Missionary Factor 

sentatives at home, should acknowledge and confess that 
the millions spent on Americanising Chinese students 
had proved to be as the sowing of fierce dragons 3 teeth. 
Granted that, perceiving the nature of their intellectual 
offspring, they were bound by the nature of their faith 
(like parents who have given life to a malformed child) 
to lavish the more effusive solicitude upon it, ever 
hoping against hope that, by some miracle of grace, it 
might attain to a fair shape and seemly deportment. 
There remains, when all is said and done, the fact that 
the missionary profession depends for its existence on 
the enthusiasm of its supporters,, and that, having 
pinned their faith to the Nationalist cause, the men who 
inspired the political sympathies and directed the policies 
of the missionary organisations, were likely to turn a 
Nelsonian blind eye an any unpleasant facts which con- 
flicted with their propaganda. They were certainly 
responsible for suppressing those voices in their midst 
which endeavoured to draw public attention to the un- 
wisdom of the Boards' policy and its dangerous conse- 
quences, already becoming apparent. 

But neither the economic nor the sentimental aspects 
of the case can sufficiently explain the persistence with 
which the missionary societies, like the British Labour 
Party, continued to uphold the cause of Kuomintang 
Nationalism, even after its paramount instincts and 
purposes had been revealed in a series of outrages which 
drove the great majority of missionary workers in 
Southern China to seek safety in their native lands or in 
the refuge of the Shanghai Settlements. We are com- 
pelled to seek a further explanation, and possibly the 
most important, in that domain of politics and propa- 
ganda, where benevolent sentiments and altruistic ideal- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

ism become, consciously or unconsciously, subservient to 
the ends of Bolshevism. 

In an article published in the English Review in 
January, 1928, I endeavoured to indicate this explana- 
tion, in the light of recent events. 

"Amongst the many curiosities and contradictions of 
present-day world politics," I wrote, "there are few 
more remarkable than the evidence of fellowship and 
co-operation which has been manifested of recent years 
between Bolshevism and the exponents of sentimental 
idealism and 'uplift' in the United States, It would 
seem at first sight an inexplicable paradox that any im- 
portant section of the only great nation which has stood 
firm, on moral grounds,, in its refusal to recognise the 
Government of the 1 Soviets, should extend a large 
measure of sympathy and support to Bolshevik intrigues 
and propaganda in other parts of the world. Yet, as I 
propose to show, it is a demonstrable fact, worthy of 
much more attention than it has hitherto received, that 
a highly influential body of public opinion in America, 
represented by a large number of church societies and 
organisations for the promotion of peace and social re- 
form, is inspired^ formed, and guided to the base uses 
of Bolshevism, by a closely-interlocked system of 
directorates, through which Communist propaganda Is 
continually spread by agents of Red proclivities, many 
of whom act in regular communication with, and even 
under the direct orders of, Moscow, The machinery of 
this highly-organised and indefatigable propaganda Is 
so ingenious and audacious that, while deploring its 
results^ one is compelled to admire the intelligence 
which directs it. 

"The Bolshevik's method of procedure, like the 

The Missionary Factor 

wasp's, is to make a way to the heart of his objective by 
attacking it at the weakest spot. Thus, in England, his 
activities have been chiefly directed towards fomenting 
disorder and creating discontent by boring within 
through the trade unions and the revolutionary elements 
in the body politic. But recognising the fact that the 
Federation of Labour in the United States repre- 
sents an industrial population definitely opposed to the 
doctrines of Marxian Communism, the directing minds 
of the Third International have concentrated their 
energies on the creation of a body of public opinion 
favourable to their purposes amongst the religious, edu- 
cationalj and c uplif ting 3 societies throughout the country. 
Their insidious approach has been steadily made upon 
the common ground of pacifism j by this means, and by 
a system of interlocking directorates they have succeeded 
in establishing their influence (often, no doubt, unsus- 
pected) in the inner counsels of such bodies as the 
Federal Council of Churches of Christ, the Inter- 
national Society of Christian Endeavour, the Y.M.C.A., 
Y.W.C.A., the American Civil Liberties Union, the 
League for Industrial Democracy, the Council for the 
Protection of Foreign-born Workers, and other similar 
organisations. The Federal Council of Churches alone 
claims to influence a membership of 20,000,000 
citizens. The League for Industrial Democracy reports 
that last year it organised meetings all over the States, 
and boasts that c it has fought American Imperialism in 
China and elsewhere.' Several of this League's directors 
are also members of the National Committee of the 
American Civil Liberties Union, an organisation which 
manifests distinct Communist tendencies and which has 
co-operated closely with the Federal Council of 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

Churches of Christ in the 'hands off China' campaign, 
and in sympathising with the anfipforeign policy of the 
Cantonese-Bolshevik faction. The result of the inter- 
locking system of directorates and close co-operation 
between these various religious and semi-political uplift 
societies is, that a comparatively small number of per- 
sons (a few hundreds at most) have it in their power 
to control and shape a vast body of public opinion 
which, in its turn, exercises an enormous influence on 
the nation's domestic and foreign politics. 

"Nowhere have the results of this influence been more 
conspicuously demonstrated than in China. 

"Turning now from the Mission Boards and their 
affiliated societies in God's Own Country^ let us glance 
briefly at the pro-Bolshevik activities of a semi-political, 
semi-missionary society which has become notorious in 
China the National Christian Council The member- 
ship of this Council consists of English and American 
missionaries, either self-elected or appointed by their 
Home Boards, and of an equal number of Chinese, all 
alike distinguished rather for their chauvinistic political 
activities than for earnest labour in the missionary field. 
The opinions and proceedings of the Council have been 
repeatedly challenged and repudiated by English and 
American missionaries on the spot, but without effect* A 
fair idea of the spirit which moved it, at this period of 
dangerous agitation^ may be gathered from the follow- 
ing passages of a letter addressed to the North China 
Herald by an American missionary on October 8th, 

I have just received, he writes, the September Bulletin of 
the National Christian Council. You will remember^ sir, 
that this is the same sheet that, in the summer of 1925, 
published an article by one of the Council, in which Lemn 


The Missionary Factor 

and Sun Yat-sen were favourably compared with Christ in 
the most craven fashion. 

The present number has something in it that will rouse the 
wrath of all honest men. It begins on page n and is headed 
"Greetings! World Alliance Resolution on China agreed to 
by the Management Committee of the Alliance for Promot- 
ing International Friendship through the Churches at its 
meeting in Constance on July 2gth, 1927." Then this "Greet- 
ings" goes on to say in part: "We desire to thank the Council 
for sending Dr. Lew as their representative to the meeting. 
We desire to express to the Chinese Council our deep and 
sincere sympathy for their present struggle for ... freedom 
from external interference and domination. . . . We confess 
with shame and sorrow that the intercourse of Western nations 
with China has been so frequently and so largely charac- 
terised by violence and disregard of right and justice, that 
many in China have not unnaturally come to associate the 
name of Christianity with foreign aggression, exploitation, 
and injustice." 

"One need hardly look further for the main cause of 
the violently anti-foreign spirit displayed by the student 
class in China and for the unloosing of the hostile forces 
which, simultaneously with the advance of the Nation- 
alist army northwards, threatened to destroy,, amongst 
other good and beneficial things, the whole structure of 
missionary work in that unfortunate country. 

"Another interesting organisation which is greatly to 
blame for the extravagant demands and irreconcilable 
attitude of the student body in China is the 'Institute 
of Pacific Relations/ of Honolulu, a society of self- 
elected busybodies in Far Eastern politics, originally 
founded by Mr. Fletcher Brockman of the Central 
Committee of the American Y.M.C.A. A conference 
of this 'Institute,' held in July, 1927, in Honolulu, was 
attended by Mr. Henry Hodgkin, secretary of the 
National Christian Council of China, and by his two 
Chinese co-secretaries, all of whom have displayed a 
very mischievous activity in support of the Bolshevik- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

Nationalist campaign for the immediate abolition of the 
Treaties. It would appear that Mr. Hodgkin and his 
British co-delegate, Sir Frederick Whyte, were selected 
for this mission by another self-constituted organisation, 
the Institute of International Affairs,* a society whose 
membership seems to be dominated by political high- 
brows of the peculiar type which delights in asserting its 
moral superiority by assuming that its own country is in- 
variably in the wrong and by giving encouragement to 
its enemies and detractors. Some indication of the nature 
of the Honolulu symposium's attitude and objects may 
be surmised from the fact that Sir Frederick Whyte 
went out of his way at Shanghai to deliver an address to 
a large audience of Chinese at the Union Club, in which 
he waxed eloquent in a glowing eulogy of Ghandi and 
his ideals of Indian nationalism, and, incidentally,, testi- 
fied to his admiration for the patriotic aspirations and 
energy which had enabled the Cantonese nationalist 
movement to make its way from Canton to the Yang- 
tsze a noteworthy instance of misguided sentiment and 
untimely indiscretion." 

Nearly five years have elapsed since the article was 
written from which the above passages are tajcen, and 
during these years a certain diminution has been observ- 
able in the fervour of enthusiasm formerly displayed 
in support of the National cause and the political aspira- 
tions of its leaders, and the benevolent attitude of the 
Mission Boards and National Christian Council shows 
symptoms of caution. But the harm has been done* For 
a quarter of a century the seeds of indiscipline and un- 
rest have been unwittingly sown in thousands of schools 
and colleges by missionaries intent on building the New 

* Now the Royal Institute. 


The Missionary Factor 

Jerusalem on American lines. The great majority of 
the young men connected with the political and propa- 
gandist activities of the Nationalist movement under 
Sun Yat-sen, and later under Chiang K'ai-shek, were 
thd fruit of the tree of knowledge planted by American 
educationalists. How ungrateful was that soil, and how 
bitter its fruits, missionaries in the South had begun to 
realise even before Sun's death (March, 1925). The 
resolution adopted by a convention of the National 
Students' Union held on July 25th, 1925, foreshadowed 
the wrath to come and gave evidence of the truth, to 
be fully demonstrated as the movement grew with the 
advance of the Cantonese army, that^ relieved of the 
moral discipline of the Confucian code, the mind of 
Young China was material more compatible with the 
doctrines of Bolshevism than with those of Christianity. 
The attitude of the student class, as a whole, revealed 
an unmistakable hostility; it proved yet once again,* 
that China rejects Christianity, not because it is Chris- 
tian, but because it is associated in the Chinese mind with 
foreigners^ with that European civilisation which the 
Oriental instinctively despises and rejects. 

"We, the National Students 5 Union," said the first 
resolution adopted by this Convention, "being one of 
the most powerful organisations opposed to Christianity 
and to Christian education, have adopted the following 
concrete methods: we have decided that Christmas 

* In Les Missions Catholiquzs, June, 1891, the Rev. Father Louvet, 
of the Missions Etrangeres, a far-seeing missionary, wrote: "It is of 
no use to hide the fact: China obstinately rejects Christianity. The 
haughty men of letters are more rancorous than ever. ... It is not 
religious fanaticism; it is only against the Christian religion that it 
seeks to defend itself. It sees all Europe following on the heels of the 
Apostles of Christ, Europe with her ideas, her civilisation, and with 
that it will have absolutely nothing to do, being, rightly or wrongly, 
satisfied with the ways of its fathers. 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

and the week^ December 22-28, should be observed as 
anti-Christian week. During this week, when the Chris- 
tians are trying to recruit followers, every Student 
Union should stir up the masses of the people to carry 
on all sorts of activities against Christianity. -We must 
make the anti-Christian movement, everywhere, work 
toward anti-imperialism. . . ." 

And again: "We students should clearly explain that 
Christianity is the weapon of our oppressors, that the 
Industrial Department of the Y.M.C.A. is an instru- 
ment used by Imperialists and Capitalists to cheat 
labourers, so that they will be content and will regard 
Capitalists as their benefactors. . . . 

"We should inform the public that the missionaries, 
the officers and workers of the missions are foreign slaves 
and the 'running dogs' employed by Imperialists and 

Professor Monroe, to whom I have already referred, 
discussing this identification of the missionary's educa- 
tional labours with Imperialism, and the Chinese Gov- 
ernment's prohibition of compulsory instruction in re- 
ligion at their schools, explains it on the simple ground 
that "any action on the part of the foreigner which 
forces the Chinese to do or to think as the foreigner 
wishes, no matter to what subject it may relate, becomes 
Imperialism. So the mission schools, by their very 
nature^ are imperialistic." 

Whatever the explanation of the phenomenon -and 
missionary literature offers a wide choice there is no 
denying that the hostility to Christianity displayed by 
Young China's Intellectuals, exceeds in intensity and 
determination that displayed at any previous crisis in 
the mission's history, even that of the Boxer period. 


The Missionary Factor 

In the bitter enmity o the students* turned out by 
American educators, there is something ironically sug- 
gestive of the malignity of China's indignant tutelary 
god; equally so in the spectacle presented by Missions 
which have spent millions of dollars* and years of labour 
in educating Young China to the blessings of democracy 
and republican ideals,, and now find themselves de- 
nounced as agents of imperialism. All these deplorable 
results the future historian will undoubtedly ascribe to 
a very general lack of psychological and sociological 
knowledge in the educators, as a class, and to their 
failure to appreciate at their right value those social and 
economic conditions* which rigidly determine the struc- 
tural character of the Chinese people. 

From the date of the Washington Conference until 
1926, the cause of Chinese Nationalism had been fer- 
vently supported by the majority of Protestant Mis- 
sionary Societies. Indeed, as Young China's hostility 
grew in intensity, in response to the foreigners' self- 
imposed policy of patient conciliation, the benevolent 
sympathy of the National Christian Council and other 
representative bodies, frequently savoured of servility. 
Even when, in the wake of the Nationalist army's north- 
ward advance, almost every missionary institution be- 
tween Canton and Hankow had been either confiscated, 
desecrated or destroyed, most of the Mission Boards 
in the home countries still continued to profess belief 
in the ultimate wisdom of their policy and to support 
the Nationalists' patriotic aspirations. In spite of the 
abundant evidence of Bolshevik inspiration in the Kuo- 
mintang's official propaganda, they refused to believe 

* The capital invested in American Protestant missions in China 
was estimated in 1925 at eighty million dollars; the amount annually 
invested is between three and five millions. 

103 H 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

that anti-Christian influences were giving definite form 
and direction to the whole ideology of the Nationalist 

After the triumphant Nationalists had established 
their authority in the Yangtze valley in the autumn of 
1926, the real nature of the Cantonese policy, and the 
character of the men who directed it, were -rapidly 
demonstrated in a series of "regrettable incidents," cul- 
minating in the Nanking atrocity of March 24th, 1927, 
The following brief account of this outrage is taken 
from Morse and MacNair's admirably concise and im- 
partial history of 'Far Eastern International Rela- 

"The conciliatory attitude of the Powers generally, and of 
Great Britain in particular, in surrendering her Hankow and 
Kiukiang concessions was followed by an unparalleled out- 
rage, f the background factors of which were not understood 
for some time. When the Nationalist armies entered Nan- 
king on March 24th, a premeditated, organised and controlled 
attack upon all foreigners was carried out, without distinction 
as to nationality, sex, or occupation of those attacked, 
American, British, French, Italian and Japanese nationals 
were murdered or wounded; many others, women as well as 
men, were assaulted, robbed and treated with the utmost 
indignities. The American, British and .Japanese Consulates 
were violated and the houses and institutions of all foreigners 
resident at Nanking were looted and, in many cases, burned." 

As the result of this outrage, following upon 
the destruction of the missions in Southern China, 
most of the missionary workers were compelled to 
Abandon the field j out of a total of over 8,000, only 

* Far Eastern International Relations, By H, B, Morse and H. F* 
MacNair. (Houghton Miflin Co,, 1931.) 

f As an example of the attitude of the Kiaomintang's foreign apolo- 
gists and propagandists it is interesting to note that Professor Holeomb, 
in The Chinese Revolution, calls it the "Nanking Incident/' whereas 
the action of the police in firing on a mob at Shanghai is described as 
the "Shanghai Massacre." 


The Missionary Factor 

about 500 remained at their posts, Over 5,000 left the 
Country, 1,500 found refuge at Shanghai and about 
a thousand at other Treaty Ports. In the thirteen pro- 
vinces affected, three Protestant mission colleges and 
fifty hospitals were closed.* Protestant missions suf- 
fered more> on the whole, than those of the Roman 
Catholics j the most conspicuous sufferer was the 
Y.M.C.A., whose directorate had been particularly 
active in supporting the political programme of the 

In spite of the evidence thus supplied of the anti- 
Christian animosity of the Nationalists,, many Mission 
Boards persisted in the policy which made them apolo- 
gists and propagandists for the Nationalist cause. 
Attempts were made to> prove that the Kuomintang 
forces were not responsible for these outrages, and that 
they had been committed by Communists or North- 
erners, in order to bring discredit on the Nationalists. 
These attempts failed, for the evidence of complicity 
on the part of Chiang K'ai-shek's officials was over- 
whelming,f and for the same reason, the efforts made 
by Nationalist Government diplomats abroad, to reassure 1 
public opinion as to its ability to give effective protec- 
tion to life and property, proved equally unconvincing. 
On April 29th there appeared in The Times > tele- 
graphed from Shanghai, extracts from a manifesto 
signed by twelve American missionaries^ refugees from 
Nanking. All of these, be it observed, were representa- 
tives of the religious bodies which, all unwittingly, had 

* See K. S, Latourette,^ History of the Christian Missions in China, 
p. 820. 

t For a graphic account by an eye-witness of what actually happened, 
see Mrs; A. T. Hobart's Within the Walls of Nanking. (Cape, London, 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

been engaged in sowing the seeds of unrest, whose 
harvest was now in the reaping. All had supported 
the patriotic aspirations of the Nationalists and their 
agitation for the annulment of the "unequal Treaties" 
and extra-territoriality, and all now confessed their 
error and disillusion. After observing that the National- 
ists had broken all their promises, the manifesto con- 
cluded with these words: 

"We have favoured the return of the Concessions to China, 
but to-day the Foreign Settlements at Shanghai are our only 
place of refuge. We have assured our people abroad that^the 
Nationalist movement was not anti-foreign or anti-Christian, 
but now we are driven from our homes and dispossessed of 
our property. We who remained at Nanking on March 24th 
were not personally dependent upon extra-territorial privi- 
leges, nor on any form of foreign protection^ but were putting 
our trust in the assurances of the Nationalists; events show 
that our faith was not justified. In all these matters, the facts 
of the situation flatly contradict our words. Everything that 
we have said in favour of the National movement is made to 
appear false." 

Most of the Home Boards and their publicists per- 
sisted, nevertheless, in the belief that the Nationalist 
movement represented elements and ideals deserving 
of sympathy and support; faith in the regenerating 
virtue of western education proved stronger, at the 
headquarters of 'uplift 5 in America and England, than 
all the flagrant evidence of its pernicious results, as 
supplied by the! student class militant, from Peking to 
Canton. In the United States it proved strong enough 
to induce the administration at Washington to abandon 
the policy of the United Front, rather than to join in 
any coercion of the Nationalist Government after the 
Nanking outrages. In England it proved strong enough 
to enable the earnest idealists, who had successfully 


The Missionary Factor 

agitated for the allocation of the Boxer indemnity to 
educational purposes in China,, to make provision for 
adding to the numbers and influence of the westernised 
student class, admittedly the most violently hostile 
element in the Nationalist movement. It proved strong 
enough to induce the Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs (Sir Austen Chamberlain) to 'overlook the un- 
pleasant exigencies of the movement/ including the 
Nanking outrages, in order "not to embarrass this or 
any other new Government in their task of introducing 
order in the territory under their control." 

The Chinese have a proverbial phrase about jumping 
on the weak and deferring to the strong, which has 
always been a guiding principle of their foreign policy. 
The conciliatory attitude displayed by the missionary 
societies and by their Governments,, in the face of the 
high-handed hostility of the Kuomintang, was bound 
to aggravate their position. The regulations eventually 
adopted by the Nanking Government, for the regula- 
tion of missionary educational enterprise,, were framed 
in such a manner that henceforward mission schools, 
if permitted to exist, would do so at their own risk, 
on sufferance, and as purely secular institutions. They 
became, in fact, places in which religious education was 
either barred or severely limited, and where foreign 
influence as a directing force was eliminated and its 
sphere practically confined to the provision of funds 
and academic advice. The ban thus placed on religious 
education has compelled many conscientious missionaries 
to feel that they were no longer justified in appealing 
for funds in their home lands in support of work which 
had ceased to fulfil the purposes for which it was en- 
dowed. Bufy judging by the activities of the National 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

Christian Council, which claims to represent a majority 
of the missionary societies, this attitude has not been 
generally adopted, and most of the 5,000 odd mission- 
aries, whose names are given in the Directory for 1930 
as having returned to their posts, may be assumed to 
have accepted the situation laid down by the Ministry 
of Education at Nanking. In July, 1930^ a deputation 
approached that Ministry, on behalf of fifteen religious 
societies, appealing for mitigation of the rigorous re- 
strictions imposed on religious instruction in the ele- 
mentary schools} but the appeal was magisterially dis- 
missed. The attitude of the Kuomintang leaders and 
of the Students' Unions has become more markedly 
anti-Christian since the Nanking outrages showed them 
that the Foreign Powers concerned were no longer dis- 
posed to hold the Chinese government responsible for 
the security of life and property, and that mission 
property might be seized with impunity. 

In order to provide its propagandists at Washington 
and Geneva with material suitable for the beguiling 
of public opinion, an article was included in the new 
Criminal Code (September, 1928) which provides for 
punishment by imprisonment or fine of anyone desecrat- 
ing any place of worship or interfering with any religious 
service; but it was never meant to be y and never was, 
taken seriously by anyone in China. It was merely 
eyewash, for foreign consumption, on a par with the 
regulations prohibiting the opium traffic or those which 
proclaim the abolition of all inland taxation, and its 
fatuity has been amply demonstrated, since its enact- 
ment, by the fact that scores of missionary churches and 
schools have been attacked, looted or confiscated, by 
order of local Kuomintang leaders^ none of whom have 


The Missionary Factor 

ever been punished, fined or even rebuked. The list of 
missionaries killed or kidnapped from 1928 to 1930 is 
a long onej much mission property has been destroyed 
during this period and the number of native Christians 
has greatly diminished. Meanwhile, the anti-Christian 
campaign continues in many provinces, notably in Hunan 
and Shantung, with the connivance, if not with the 
full approval, of the Kuomintang headquarters. The 
Nationalist Propaganda Bureau, under the direct 
authority of Nanking^ has issued a number of anti- 
Christian slogans, which have frequently been found 
posted on the ruins of churches and schools looted by 
Nationalist mobs during the past year. Many might be 
quoted, but the following will suffice to show Young 
China's real sentiments towards the Christian missions: 

" 'Open the knife and slay all those who profess the foreign 
teachings/ Those who sympathise with Christianity are un- 
desirable members of the Chinese race and traitors to their 
country.' The anti-Christian campaign should be conducted 
from the standpoint of Nationalism'; in other words, the 
anti-Christian movement is part of the Chinese Revolution. 
If it succeeds the first line of Imperialism will have been 

These, broadly speaking, are the conspicuous results 
of half a century of efforts by the great religious 
societies to prepare the way for Christianity by giving 
Young China the benefits of education on western lines. 
As matters stand, the educational authorities who control 
what is left of the organisation of the Mission Schools, 
registered under Nanking's education law, are prepared 
to welcome the flow of English and American money 
into China for educational purposes^ but only on condi- 
tion that foreigners surrender all rights to control the 
spending of this money and that religious education and 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

exercises are either barred, or made voluntary for the 

Undeterred by these results, the Protestant Mission 
Boards are apparently determined to pursue the policy, 
based on faith in the Nationalist cause, to which they 
and the American Government have been committed 
since 1921. According to the publicists of the National 
Christian Council, Chinese leadership in the diminished 
church has greatly developed in efficiency under the 
pressure of necessity. The anonymous compiler of the 
report on Missions work in the China Year Book for 
1931, evidently in the confidence of the N.C.C., ex- 
presses the view that: 

"There is a new self-consciousness within the Church and 
less dependence upon outside initiative and support there 
is a feeling that the Church is more truly indigenous and 
Chinese than at any previous time in its history. On the 
other hand, the first glow of elation at the opportunity to 
manage Church affairs, without outside suggestion or direc- 
tion, has passed, and there is a new appreciation of the un- 
selfish service unstintedly given by western associates* , . . The 
conviction is deeper than ever that, in spite of her enemies, 
the Christian Church is in China to stay and to become a per- 
manent element in the regeneration of national life. Chinese 
Protestantism will differ in some of its manifestations and ex- 
pressions from Western Protestantism, but it will continue to 
display ^the same qualities of heroic faith. ... A considerable 
proportion of the Christian schools have decided to accept the 
Governmental regulations as regards religious education and 
exercises. Ten colleges and professional schools have now put 
both upon a voluntary basis." 

From which it would appear that the political 
activities of the Mission Boards^ which have produced 
results so disastrous to all concerned, may be expected 
to continue. At the same time, there is evidence that 
these results, and the present position of the missionary 


The Missionary Factor 

societies, as contributors to the secular education of the 
Chinese, have led to much heart-searching concerning 
future policies. Many hold, as one of their writers 
says,* that "education without Christianity is an im- 
poverished and hopeless incomplete preparation for 
life." Others feel strongly that missions, endowed with 
funds contributed for evangelical purposes, cannot 
properly continue educational work from which those 
purpose are excluded. They feel, as Professor Monroef 
puts it, that in recent years Protestant mission work 
has become a cultural, rather than a religious, mission, 
and that, "in respect to its social aspect, this cultural 
mission may be said to have accomplished its purpose." 
The same writer observes thai, if a marked decline in 
Mission interest and support now follows relinquish- 
ment of control of Mission institutions, this should not 
be attributed to change in Mission methods alone. A far 
greater influence, in his opinion, contributing to this 
decline^ is the enlightenment of public opinion "through 
the movie news reel, which has portrayed the hostile 
incidents in China, such as that at Nanking. Anyone 
who has witnessed the reaction of an American assembly 
to any such photographic reproductions, can readily see 
that the new method of visual evidence can undo in a 
few minutes a prolonged education through missionary 
efforts extending over years." In other words, by means 
of the cinema, the American public has been assisted 
to grasp the real nature and sentiments of the National- 
ist movement, in the same way that the missionaries 
grasped them, who were compelled to fly for their lives 
to the safety of the Treaty Ports. Such being the case, 

* Chinese Realities, By John Foster. (Edinburgh House Press, 1928.) 
f A Nation in Evolution, p. 330. 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

the Mission problem of the immediate future would 
appear to centre in the question whether the Kuomintang 
Propaganda Bureau will continue to enjoy the sym- 
pathy and support of the powerful "Church Vote" in 
America and England, or whether that vote (and the 
flow of funds that goes with it) will hereafter be guided, 
by the cinema and other enlightening agencies, to abstain 
from subsidising the education of the Chinese on lines 
which have conclusively demonstrated the wisdom of 
the warning uttered on this subject by the Directors 
of the East India Company, a hundred and twenty-five 
years ago. 




"Just as injurious as it would be to an amphibian to cut 
off its branchiae before its lungs were well developed; so 
injurious must it be to a society to destroy its old institutions 
before the new have become organised enough to take their 
places." Herbert Spencer. 

THE activities of the western world, as manifested by 
missionary and educational enterprise, which are in great 
measure responsible for the evolution of the modern 
(as distinct from the classical) Chinese student, are all 
based on the tacit assumption that the westernisation of 
the Orient is a process preordained of Providence, in- 
evitable, and of a nature to benefit all concerned. They 
are, in fact, manifestations of the instinctive impulse of 
Europe's active self-helping races to impose them- 
selves, morally as well as physically, upon the passive, 
self-sufficient East the same impulse as that which 
launched the Crusades^ and inspired by a similar convic- 
tion of moral justification. Since the end of the nine- 
teenth century, this conviction of inevitability has be- 
come so universal and so axiomatic, that to challenge 
its validity would appear to be almost a forlorn hope. 
Nevertheless, amongst a small minority of competent 
observers^ the opinion has been steadily gaining ground 
during this period, that the West's prospects of achiev- 
ing moral and intellectual ascendancy in China are 
probably less promising to-day than they were in the 
days of Ghenghiz Khan. In another chapter I propose 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

to consider briefly this aspect of the Far Eastern problem 
and to examine the validity of the assumption that the 
westernisation of China is a consummation devoutly to 
be wished and actually in process of rapid accomplish- 
ment. Meanwhile, it must, I think, be generally con- 
ceded, that the prospect and nature of this process of 
westernisation may fairly be judged by such evidence 
as we possess, with regard to the dominant morality, 
mentality and cultural tendencies of the class of Intel- 
lectuals which western learning has produced in China 
during the last fifty years. Let us then consider the 
present-day student class, from which the officials and 
politicians of the future will be drawn, and judging by 
their general dominant characteristics, ask ourselves 
whether, from their point of view or ours, the experi- 
ment of their western education can fairly be' regarded 
as justified by its results, and whether there is good 
reason for the belief that, with it, these Chinese Intel- 
lectuals are assimilating western conceptions of political 

The demand for western learning^ in substitution for 
the Chinese classics, first became widespread and insistent 
in China as the result of Russia's defeat by Japan in 
1904-55 that which had been a little stream of experi- 
ment since 1872 became a flowing tide between 1905 
and 1908. Prior to 1904, public opinion had been to 
some extent impressed by the fact that, under the auspices 
of the Viceroy Yuan Shih~Kai, foreign-educated officials, 
such as Tang Shao-yi and Liang Pun-yen, had risen to 
the highest offices at Peking, while many others, of 
the comparatively small number available, were em- 
ployed in important posts. After Russia's defeat, Court 
and Governmental circles began to reflect the enthu- 


China's Modern Students 

siasm of the educated class for the idea that what Japan 
had done, China, by adopting the same methods, might 
also do. The latent strength of the East had been 
triumphantly vindicated j no longer need it submit to 
the insolent encroachment of the West, China, in her 
turn, would study the secret sources of western power 
and learn to defeat the outer barbarian with his own 
weapons. For the old Empress Dowager, humiliated 
by her bitter experiences in 1900, the prospect of educa- 
tional reform was rendered easier and more attractive 
by the fact that it enabled her to conciliate the Western 
Powers by a course of action which at the same time 
satisfied the progressive and restless elements in Chinese 
politics. But whe% in 1904, she finally decided to 
abolish the ancient classical examinations in favour of 
western learning, it was undoubtedly her intention, and 
that of her chief advisers, to reform the national system 
of education gradually, in accordance with the plans 
originally submitted to H.M. Kuang Hsu by K'ang 
Yu-wei and his fellow reformers in 1898, retaining the 
basic elements of China's political economy and culture 
and adding to them the necessary superstructure' of 
western scientific knowledge. Had she lived to direct 
the course of events, had the restraining influence 1 of 
the Throne not disappeared, this prudent course might 
have been followed and China might have been spared 
many of the calamitous conditions which have become 
endemic since the Revolution; for it is beyond all ques- 
tion true that the present chaotic state of the country's 
affairs is largely due to the indiscipline and unrest which 
a defective system of education has produced in the 
student class since the passing of the dynasty. 

Three years after the system of Classical examina- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

tions had been abolished by Imperial Edict, many 
thoughtful observers on the spot already foresaw the 
possibility of disastrous consequences,, as the result of 
the collapsing Manchu Government's failure to provide 
in the place of the classics an effective system of educa- 
tion ? adapted to the needs and characters of the Chinese 
people. It was already beginning to be perceived that 
little good, and much harm, was likely to result from 
the violent uprooting of the old system which, what- 
ever its defects from the western point of view, had 
proved throughout the centuries a permanent factor of 
national cohesion and stability. In an article published 
by The Times at this date (February 6th, 1908) I had 
occasion to express some of the misgivings which were 
then beginning to be felt, as follows: 

"That China is awakening, and the old order passing away, 
is certain; whether, in passing, it leaves the awakened nation 
to convulsions and partition or to the dignity of a sovereign 
State, its immemorial traditions and Statecraft enriched by 
wise adaptations from Western knowledge, must depend upon 
the nature of the education supplied and on the effect -by 
no means a foregone conclusion which it produces upon the 
mass of the people. . . . 

"It is impossible to ignore the mighty forces at work, the 
eager interest shown by the people in the new schools, the 
immediate effect upon native thought It is certain that, 
before long, these forces must come into conflict with the 
policy and privileges of the Classical literati and conser- 
vatism, and it is therefore a matter of no small moment to 
humanity to ascertain whether the moving principles of the 
new system are likely to be constructive or destructive in their 
effect ? whether the wine of the new learning, rapidly absorbed 
by Young China, will act as stimulant or intoxicant; whether, 
in fact, the patriotism and patience of the Chinese will enable 
them to follow the example of Japan. 

"If one were to judge of the prospects in China only by the 
views of students, as expressed in their writings and political 
speeches, it would be safe to predict for the nation grave 
crises of unreason and unrest. ... It would seem that, in 


China's Modern Students 

learning and professing the democratic principles of the 
West, the celestial mind acquires an accentuated sense of 
superiority, that its instinctive racial prejudices are increased, 
rather than diminished, by residence abroad; for it is a 
matter of common observation that wherever public opinion 
in China assumes the form of unreasonable hostility to 
foreigners, the movement is usually inspired and led by men 
who have received their education from abroad." 

Already at that date there had been ominous mani- 
festations of the intoxicating effect of the new wine, 
evidence to show that^ released from the discipline of 
the Confucian philosophy of national life, and fed 
straightway upon the strong meat of advanced European 
thought, the student class was assimilating little more 
than discontent with the ancient faith of its own civilisa- 
tion, expressed in indiscriminating appreciation of 
western ideas of personal liberty, democracy, racial 
equality, etc. It certainly showed no signs of a capacity 
to assimilate, or even to understand,, the moral prin- 
ciples and ideals underlying western civilisation. The 
rejection by the Throne of the Confucian Canon, as the 
basis of public and private morality, speedily resulted 
in a widespread relaxation of parental authority which, 
even before the elimination of the Throne itself rally- 
ing point for all authority had found ominous expres- 
sion in the unruly proceedings of the students at Tokyo. 
Their repeated attempts to terrorise the Chinese Minister 
at the Japanese capital in 1905 afforded an indication of 
the dangers which the State was incurring by permitting 
thousands of youths to go abroad, released from all 
parental discipline. The impunity with which these 
attempts were committed afforded an equally signi- 
ficant indication of the extraordinary timidity of the 
officials, of their readiness, even in the highest 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

quarters, to submit tamely to intimidation, and even to 
personal assaults, by students. After the collapse of the 
dynasty, and the introduction of the new era of civil 
war and general lawlessness, the students were bound 
to become an increasingly important factor in the politics 
of the Republic, for the reason that, in the absence of 
a hereditary ruling caste (such as Japan possessed in 
the Samurai) the leaders of public opinion in China 
can only be drawn from the educated class, and the old 
Confucian scholars having been discredited, their pres- 
tige in the eyes of the people passed, faute de mitfux, to 
the new Intelligentsia. It was, therefore, not long before 
the audacity of its activities increased in proportion to 
their impunity. But the whips wielded by students in 
the early years of the Republic were mild scourges in 
comparison with the scorpions of the present genera- 
tion. The latter's complete demoralisation undoubtedly 
reflects the tone and temper of the education which has 
been imparted in the primary and secondary schools 
under the direction of the Kuomintang. To these 
text-books I shall have occasion to refer in due 

During the critical period immediately following the 
Russo-Japanese war, when the mind of Young China 
was raised to a high pitch of excitement and that of Old 
China sunk in depths of apprehension, the timidity dis- 
played by high officials in the face of demonstrations 
by the students, was inspired partly by their natural 
anxiety, as rich men, to incur no avoidable risks* But 
where foreign politics were involved, it was equally 
inspired by the fact that Young China's professed belief 
in the regenerative virtue of democratic institutions was 
backed by an important section of European and 


China's Modern Students 

American opinion, identified with, and chiefly respon- 
sible for, the new political faith. Like their fathers 
before them., the mandarins greatly disliked and feared 
missionary influence, but they were compelled by force 
of circumstances to pay lip service to the belief that the 
undisciplined activities of the student movement indi- 
cated a genuine awakening of the Chinese people to a 
world made free for democracy. 

Writing on the subject of student mob psychology 
at the time of the Washington Conference, 51 " I observed 
that "even before the Revolution, the overweening con- 
ceit, indiscipline and nervous excitability of the foreign- 
educated student had led many competent observers to 
wonder whether the younger generation would have 
patriotism and patience enough to build up on the old 
foundations a new system of government acceptable and 
intelligible to the passes of their countrymen. After 
the passing of the Manchus and the inauguration of 
parliamentary procedure at Peking, it soon became 
apparent that Young China had changed its old lamps 
for new, but that neither the wick of wisdom nor the 
oil of honesty were forthcoming." These and other criti- 
cisms of the western-educated students were indignantly 
challenged at the time, by the publicists of the Kuomin- 
tangy in letters to the Foreign Press and in the columns 
of the Chinese Students' Monthly y but the arguments 
employed were usually ad hommem. Neither then nor 
since have any of these publicists set down anything in 
the nature of a definite constructive programme, com- 
monly accepted by the Intellectuals of Young China and 
based on clear recognition of the imperative need for effi- 
ciency and honesty in the administration of the public 

* China, Japan and Korea. (Heinemann, 1921.) 

119 i 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

services. In all the voluminous works published by these 
Intellectuals, and by their foreign advisers and sup- 
porters, since the inauguration of the Republic^ the reader 
will find the same stereotyped formulas and vague pro- 
fessions of faith in the healing virtue of democracy a 
Vamericame and 'free institutions.' But in none of them 
will he discover any indication of either capacity or 
determination to create and maintain a genuinely repre- 
sentative system of government. 

Such being the case, and these professions of faith 
having been proved sterile during a period of twenty 
years' observation,, it is pertinent to seek, in the educa- 
tion of this semi-alien intelligentsia, an explanation of 
the increasing violence of the excesses habitually com 
mitted by / the students in public matters^ and of the 
attitude of subservience towards these excesses, dis- 
played not only by the government but by the individual 
officials against whom they are directed. The audacity 
and impunity with which the student class has asserted 
its right to intervene' in government affairs, and to im- 
pose its opinions upon the executive by acts of violence, 
have steadily increased during the past decade. In 19 19, 
for example, roused to wrath by the decision of the 
Council of Three at Versailles to recognise Japan's claim 
to the reversion of German Rights in Shantung, the 
students enrolled themselves into Unions and organised 
parades of protest at the chief centres of educa- 
tion throughout the country. In Peking they attacked 
and burned the residences of two members of the 
government, denounced as traitors on account of their 
pro-Japanese tendencies. Again, in 1925, the Minister 
of Education having issued an order prohibiting any 
anti-Japanese demonstrations on Humiliation Day (the 


China's Modern Students 

anniversary of the "Twenty-one Demands" o 1915) a 
mob of students proceeded to wreck his house: his re- 
signation followed. These 1 two instances are cited as 
typical j many others like them occurred during the 
period which preceded general recognition of the 
authority of the Kuomintang, under Chiang K'ai-shek 
as the ruling power, and the establishment of the new 
capital at Nanking in 1927. Their significance lay chiefly 
in the fact that on no occasion did the government or 
its local officials take any steps to check them or to insist 
upon stricter discipline being enforced upon students by 
the educational authorities. On the contrary, the atti- 
tude of the men in power^ at Peking as well as at Canton, 
continually revealed a desire to conciliate the student 
class and to find excuses, if not justification^ for its 
turbulent proceedings. Under these conditions, the 
complete contempt for authority which distinguishes the 
student movement to-day, was inevitable} for 'western 
learning' can never modify that instinctive disposition 
of the Oriental mind, which attributes a conciliatory 
attitude to fear and treats it accordingly. Since the 
achievement of political ascendancy by the Cantonese 
party (a group of sectarians always identified in the 
public mind with opposition to constituted authority), 
the student movement has thrown off all semblance of 
restraint. Its contagious example of dictatorial methods 
and organised ruffianism has moreover affected the 
primary and secondary schools, whose pupils now fre- 
quently assert their right to criticise, if not to dictate, 
the government's policy. Finally, throughout the whole 
movement (and most notably in the case of the anti- 
Japanese boycott) there is evidence of an increasing 
tendency on the part of its leaders to make their political 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

activities serve those practical ends of family enrich- 
ment which, say what we will, are born and bred in the 
Chinese and, broadly speaking, become the paramount 
motive of their daily lives. Thus it has come to pass that 
the government's decision on any question of State policy 
is now liable to be violently challenged, and its highest 
officials ignominiously expelled from office, by riotous 
mobs of excitable college youths and schoolchildren. 

As indicative of the attitude of the student and official 
classes respectively, one or two recent instances will 
suffice. One of the most notable occurred last year, 
when some 30,000 middle-school pupils and 12,000 
university scholars went on strike, to protest against the 
Nanking Government's acceptance of the League of 
Nations' resolution in regard to Manchuria, and de- 
manded an immediate declaration of war against Japan. 
Their protests culminated, as usual, in violent assaults 
upon the officials who had incurred their wrath, viz., 
the Foreign Minister (C T. Wang) at Nanking, and 
the Mayor of the Chinese Municipality at Shanghai,, 
both of whom incontinently resigned. Their activities 
since the beginning of 1932* have been of a nature to 
justify their claim to regard themselves as the final 
authority with regard not only to the policy of the 
government but to the direction of the educational estab- 
lishments which they frequent. Thus, in January last, 
the newly-appointed President of the Central Uni- 
versity at Nanking was severely beaten by a group of 
students, who disapproved of his nomination for the 
post, and compelled him to flee for his life. A week later 

* On May 3rd a deputation of students called on the Vice-Minister 
of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kuo Tai-chi, to protest against hm conduct of 
the negotiations with the Japanese in regard to Shanghai; their pro- 
tests, as usual, took the form of a violent personal assault, 


China's Modern Students 

they decided to nominate their own President, giving the 
government the choice of appointing one of their three 
selected candidates. At the same time the students of 
the Canton University were demanding the removal of 
their President and the appointment of Madame Sun 
Yat-sen to fill his place. These southern youths were 
more than usually self-satisfied and aggressive at this 
time, because they took credit to themselves for having 
brought about the downfall of Chiang K'ai-shek's ad- 
ministration ; since then, the students whose voices pre- 
dominate at Nanking, dissatisfied with the Cantonese 
regime, have demanded the restoration of Chiang K'ai- 
shek's authority. 

In March, 1932, a case occurred at Wei-hai-wei, in 
connection with the anti- Japanese boycott at that port, 
which throws an instructive light on more than one 
aspect of the student movement. The students having 
requested a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, to 
discuss means for preventing the importation of 
Japanese goods, proceeded to differ from the views of 
one of the merchants present, by beating him severely. 
The Vice-President of the Chamber then intervening, 
was similarly attacked; he^ however, defended himself 
with a stick and felled one of his assailants. The students 
thereupon called in the police and demanded the Vice- 
President's arrest; he was accordingly taken under escort 
to the Yamen. Next day the students assembled in force 
at the Court, and called upon the magistrate to hand 
over the Vice-President, their amiable intention being 
to parade him penitentially at the head of a procession 
through the town. The Court temporised, endeavour- 
ing to placate the mob, but finally declined to hand over 
the Vice-President; the students thereupon signified 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

their displeasure in the usual manner by breaking the 
Court windows, looting a number of Japanese shops, and 
holding an enthusiastic meeting on the golf course. 

Another instance, ludicrous but instructive, which 
occurred early in the year at Swatow, reveals something 
of the sordid financial motives inseparable from Chinese 
politics^ even in the rudimentary stage. In this case, the 
pupils of the middle and primary schools went on strike, 
because of the refusal of their claim to representation 
on the Committee of the local anti-Japanese Association, 
controlled by the students. This right of representation 
they demanded, partly as a matter of amour <f>rofre y but 
more especially because they had good reason to believe 
that certain officers of the Association had been using 
the opportunities of their position to squeeze large sums 
of money from the local shopkeepers. The juniors' 
demand for a finger in this lucrative pie having been 
refused, they marched in force upon the headquarters 
of the Association and proceeded to smash up the 
premises. The dispute, and the general strike in the 
schools, were considered of sufficient importance to call 
for official intervention j a member of the Kuomintang 
was therefore dispatched from Canton to investigate the 
matter. His verdict was that the middle schools, but 
not the primary schools, should be allowed to join the 
Association. This decision having been indignantly re- 
jected and his person threatened, the delegate sought 
safety in flight. The schoolchildren then appointed a 
Committee to "talk reason" with the student leaders of 
the Association, but without effect; the strike therefore 
continued, the educational and other authorities being 
manifestly incapable of imposing discipline, even on the 
junior pupils. 


China's Modern Students 

The explanation of this remarkable state of affairs 
is to be found, partly in the privileged position which 
the scholar has always occupied in the Chinese social 
system, and partly in the natural timidity of the average 
official} to the persistence,, in fact, of the traditions and 
tendencies engrained in the national character by the 
Confucian code of ethics. Student movements have 
been recorded in Chinese history as far back as the Han 
period, but the indiscipline and violence which have 
marked those of recent years are entirely new features. 
They are only to be explained by the fact that, whereas 
patience, perseverance and respect for authority were 
essential virtues, imposed upon scholars by the Con- 
fucian system, the new dispensation having abolished 
these, has left the younger generation without steady- 
ing force or moral guidance. The fundamental weak- 
ness of the present system or lack of it resulting 
from the substitution of western learning for the Canons 
of the Sages is, that the average modern student in 
China (as in India) cannot bring his education into any 
direct relation with the life of his own people. As 
Prince Ito said of them in 1 909, their intentions may be 
excellent^ "but they have hardly any roots in the country 
and, therefore, as a class cannot be expected to direct 
and control any practical course of action." Further- 
more, the growth of indiscipline and unrest in the 
younger generation and the hold which political agita- 
tion obtains upon the raw material of the schools and 
universities j are phenomena in some measure due to wide- 
spread economic distress and to the resultant poverty 
and discontent prevailing in the classes from which this 
raw material is drawn. No procession or other demon- 
tration by students would be complete without collec- 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

tion boxes and methods not far removed from intimi- 
dation on the part of the collectors. 

A writer in the Shanghai Press who conceals his iden- 
tity but reveals considerable light of knowledge in sign- 
ing himself "a student of Chinese affairs,"* has recently 
endeavoured to solve the "apparently unanswerable 
riddle" of the "astounding supineness of China's officials 
in failing firmly to suppress what would be regarded 
in other countries as obnoxious schoolboy pranks." In 
his opinion, the explanation lies chiefly in the domain 
of psychology j in that the rulers of the country under- 
stand the mentality of their own people as no foreigner 
can hope to understand it. He considers it impossible 
that the government would allow itself to be reduced 
to a nonentity and defied by schoolchildren, without 
good reason, which reason is supplied by the fact that 
the problem which the government has to face is two- 
fold. It has to reckon with, and placate, the small but 
highly vocal modern China of the Treaty Ports and 
big cities, where western civilisation has made some 
impression ; it has also to reckon with the rest of the 
nation, "the inside, that conglomerate horde which has 
never so much as heard of extra-territoriality and would 
not understand it if it had 5 which still regards the 
written word as something almost sacred and has never 
heard of Sun Yat-sen's 'Three Principles'." It is con- 
fronted by the difficulty that, whereas under the old 
regime, whenever a student was guilty of serious offence, 
his teachers and the elders of his village were respon- 
sible and liable to punishment, the modern student has 
cast off parental and local authority. Nevertheless, the 
dominating prestige of learning remains 5 the common 

* North China Herald, Shanghai, December I5th, 1931, 


China's Modern Students 

people's awe of the scholar is undiminished and the 
psychological effect of his privileged position upon the 1 
officers of the law is an incalculable force. When, more- 
over, an officer of the law reflects that most of the large 
universities and colleges are under the direct patronage 
and protection of highly-placed members of the Kuo- 
mintang, either in the national or provincial govern- 
ments, the immunity which the student enjoys, even 
in his attacks upon Ministers of State, becomes some- 
what less mysterious. The government has always to 
reckon with the remarkable solidarity which the student 
unions have achieved, by western methods, reinforced by 
the national genius for class co-operation. Let a police 
inspector at Shanghai or Canton endeavour to prevent 
or control a political demonstration by students, let one 
of their number be slightly injured in the pursuit of his 
unlawful occasions, and straightway every college and 
school in the land howls for the wretched officer's blood, 
and threatens to wreak vengeance on the heads of the 
government if their demands are not complied with. 
Finally, when it is remembered that the government 
itself consists largely of men who owe their successful 
careers to repudiation of constituted authority and the 
tradition of collective moral responsibility, it becomes 
easier to understand why the student movement com- 
bines the prestige of a privileged class with complete 
indifference to the duty of dignity and discipline which 
that prestige entailed under the Confucian system. The 
mentality displayed by the modern Chinese student is 
in great measure ascribable to the sudden and violent 
uprooting of the culture which gave dignity and restraint 
to the profession of letters under that system. 

But the widespread unanimity of the anti-foreign and 


CHINA: The Pity o It 

anti-Christian sentiments, which the students have dis- 
played with increasing virulence in recent years, cannot 
be attributed to this cause. These must be attributed 
to the nature of the education which the rising genera- 
tion has received since 1905. They are the natural first 
fruits of the tree of false hopes, whose planting and 
watering by the missionary and educational societies I 
have already described. It was their intention and their 
confident belief that, with western learning, Young 
China would acquire the ideals and moral principles of 
Christian nations, together with a new conception of 
citizenship 5 they had therefore no misgivings in advo- 
cating the immediate and complete abolition of the Con- 
fucian system of morals and ethics. It was a project 
foredoomed to failure, conceived without regard to 
biological or sociological experience,, and its results are 
deplorable to an extent which the world is only begin- 
ning to appreciate. Amongst these results, the deliberate 
cultivation of hatred for all foreigners by the professors 
and schoolteachers of the new dispensation, and the 
inculcation of that hatred by the text-books introduced 
by order of the Kuomintang, are the most sinister symp- 
toms. 'For the great majority of these professors and 
teachers and textbook makers are products and expo- 
nents of western learning, either acquired abroad or from 
Mission Schools in China. In other words, they repre- 
sent the class upon which proselytising enthusiasts in 
England and America have persistently relied for the 
last fifty years to reform the country's administration 
upon western lines and to provide the material for that 
'stable and effective government' which Washington's 
optimists foresaw. 

It was natural enough that the missionary and educa- 

China's Modern Students 

tional societies concerned should hopefully overlook 
such tares as they discovered in their earliest crops and 
pin their faith on the bursting cornbins to come. It was 
also natural that, in order to gain the goodwill of their 
pupils, they should display an active sympathy with the 
political aspirations of their proteges^ the westernised 
officials who came to the front after the Revolution, 
especially as these aspirations were usually the fruit 
of thought-germs implanted in Young China's mind 
at American educational establishments, sentimentally 
devoted to the inculcation of 'democratic' ideals. In 
their proselytising enthusiasm and zeal, they trusted 
also to the traditional loyalty and devotion of the 
Chinese pupil to his teacher. But in so doing they over- 
looked the influences of atavism and environment, far 
more potent in China than in any other Oriental country, 
and the fact that hostility to foreigners is a deep-rooted 
atavistic instinct. They forgot that the student, educate 
him where or how you will, remains cm fond a product 
of the antecedents of the social system which produced 
him in other words, that, sooner or later, he reverts to 

Until the end of the second decade of this century, 
despite ominous indications of the coming storm, 
optimism of this kind, clearly reflected in the policies 
of Great Britain and America, was displayed by prac- 
tically every missionary and educational organisation 
in China. Many of them, as I have shown, played a 
conspicuous part in supporting the movement for the 
abolition of extra-territoriality and other political ob- 
jectives of the Nationalist Government's propaganda. 
But the anti-foreign and anti-Christian character of the 
Nationalist movement from 1925 onwards, a pheno- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

menon of unmistakable significance, left little ground 
for further self-delusion. There was no denying the 
fact that many of the bitterest anti-Christians and chau- 
vinists, who inspired the confiscation or destruction of 
mission schools, churches and hospitals^ were either 
professing Christians, or men who had received their 
early education from missionaries. The disillusion 
which had already been produced in the minds of dis- 
passionate observers by the careers of prominent leaders, 
such as Sun Yat-sen and the "Christian General" Feng 
Yu-Hsiang, came to be shared by many missionary 
workers in the field. The truth gradually emerged, as 
the result of grievous experience,, that the net result of 
fifty years of Europe's and America's educational 
activities in China has been in many ways disastrous j 
with the best intentions, they have unwittingly been 
engaged in the mass production of dangerous explo- 

Nevertheless, if one may judge by the general tenor 
of missionary reports, the belief still persists, apparently 
unshaken, not only at many of the headquarters of the 
great religious and educational societies, but in political 
circles, that western learning must eventually fulfil its 
purpose and produce a new and better type of citizen in 
China. Considering the nature and extent of the influ- 
ence which these powerful organisations exercise, especi- 
ally in America, it is hardly to be expected that they 
should readily confess either to a forlorn hope in the 
future, or to misdirected efforts in the past. But if 
the textbooks at present extensively used in the elemen- 
tary schools throughout China may be taken as a reliable 
indication of current trends of thought,, the students 
of the next generation are not likely to be less inclined 


China's Modern Students 

to violent chauvinism than those of to-day. If it be 
true that Vhat you put into the School you get out of 
the State/ it is impossible that the type of citizen to 
be produced by the Kuomintang's present system of 
education should make for the improvement of China's 
internal affairs or foreign relations. The spirit of mili- 
tant nationalism which these books inculcate is based, 
from first to last, on bitter denunciation of the foreigner, 
and there is no getting away from the fact that, gener- 
ally speaking, the sentiments which they express are 
those of the modern school Intellectuals,, the class which 
owes most of its education to western initiative, so 
praiseworthy in its motives^ but so misdirected in its 

An English translation of typical passages from these 
textbooks was published last year by the Japanese Press 
Union j it includes extracts from the New Chinese 
History, the New Chinese Geography, the New* Age 
Three Principles Textbook, the New Chinese Common- 
Sense Readers* and other similar works. Their unmis- 
takable purpose is to inculcate a spirit of nationalism 
inspired by hatred and contempt of foreigners in 
general; many of them reveal, moreover, an unmis- 
takable undercurrent of Bolshevist influence,, similar 
to that which found expression in the writings of Sun 
Yat-sen towards the end of his career. The general 
tone and tenor of these textbooks afford sufficient ex- 
planation of the state of mind which the student class 
habitually reveals in its excursions into politics, of that 
attitude of hostility to the world at large which Lord 
Lytton so justly deplored at Shanghai, as a cause of 

* A digest of these textbooks is given in "Nationalism and Edu- 
cation in Modern China/' by Cyrus H. Peake (Columbia University 
Press and Milford's, London), 1932. 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

conflict for which Geneva can provide no remedy; they 
therefore deserve the earnest attention of every friend 
of China, and especially of the religious and educational 
societies concerned.* 

To enable 1 the reader to appreciate the tendency of 
these textbooks and the manner in which the Young 
Chinese idea is being taught to shoot, the following 
extracts are selected from the several works named. 

From The Songs of the Three People's Principles, in 
a higher-grade textbook: 

The flags of Imperialism, brutally dyed with innocent blood 
are waving; 

Their barbarous troops, roaring like wild beasts, deafen my 

They have butchered my dear brethren, murdered my re- 
vered uncles 

Hot-blooded and high-souled brothers ! Set your goal, clearly 
and quickly! 

The views expressed on the subject of the League 1 of 
Nations in The Higher-Grade Ci^cs have probably been 
revised since the Manchurian dispute began. In the 
edition to which the Japanese publication refers, they 
read as follows: 

"The real power of the League is held by England, France, 
Italy and Ja^an; they dominate the weaker nations. This 
kind of organisation is merely a temporary expedient for the 
preservation of peace. As for our country, our only course is 
to solve our own problems by ourselves/' 

The abrogation of the unequal Treaties is thus dis- 
cussed in the New Age Three Principles Textbook: 

"The oppression of China by foreigners is the burning 

* An indication of the characteristic attitude of our political idealists 
towards Young China was afforded in the series of broadcast "talks* 1 
delivered in June last by Professor Roxby, His talk on "Teaching 
Young China" (vide The Listener, June sgth) lays great stress on the 
purely academic programme of the National Education Conference, but 
contains no reference to the ominous nature of the textbooks actually 
m use. 7 


China's Modern Students 

question to-day. . . , Committing a crime clearly within the 
realm of China, they rely on force to deny Chinese juris- 
diction, whereas they should be punished by Chinese law. 
Moreover, the Maritime Customs are forcibly administered 
by foreigners. We need say no more to make it clear to you 
that the Country is suffering from the oppression of foreign 
Imperialists. From the very beginning they compelled us by 
force of arms to accept the unequal Treaties. Therefore, it is 
that in the matter of foreign policy, the platform of the Kuo- 
mintang demands the abolition of these Treaties." 

A typical extract from the Popular Developmental 
Language Readers under the heading of "Important 
Problems of Arithmetic": 

"If a house were entered by brigands every year and looted 
of Mex. Dolls. 1,200,000,000, and nothing could be done to 
prevent them, the loss would naturally mount up each year 
and in ten years would increase by two and a half times. 
How much will the sum thus stolen from this house then 
amount to? 

"There are 400 million people living in this house, but only 
one in ten is a wage earner, the rest being women, children 
and old people. If the money stolen by the brigands were 
all earned by these men, how much must each provide 

The following on "Foreign Banking in China" is 
from the New Chinese Common-Sense Readers for 
lower-grade schools: 

"The foreign banks in China issue banknotes and the 
Chinese have complete faith in them. They simply print 
hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper and exchange them 
for so many coins of ours. Is not this kind of loss great? 

"There is also a system of exchange and they get big profit 
out of this, too. When they receive money on deposit from 
Chinese, they pay only four or five per cent, at best. Loaning 
the money thus accumulated to the Chinese petty merchants, 
they charge at least seven or eight per cent interest. The only 
thing they undertake is the little labour in the accounting 
department and they make the profit from the Chinese by 
the Chinese capital. In one item of banking alone, the money 
they make in China is about $100,000,000 per annum. 

"Beside this, they annually plunder from us four hundred 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

to five hundred million dollars in the names of land tax, Jand 
assessment or various other taxes; one hundred million 
dollars through the special business tax; several dozen of 
million dollars in the speculative enterprises and other profits, 
"Out of these economic oppressions, the loss we thus sustain 
does not fail to amount to $1,200,000,000.^ Because we are 
suffering from such a big loss, people lack in vitality and no 
enterprises for social welfare can develop. Our future is in 
imminent danger, if no immediate measure is taken to combat 
these opressions." 

In issuing the pamphlet containing these translations, 
the Japanese Press Union justly observes that,, consider- 
ing the fact that millions of China's rising generation 
have been brought up in this atmosphere of violent 
dislike and distrust of foreigners for the past twenty 
years, there is nothing surprising in the excesses com- 
mitted by the students of to-day, or in their total lack 
of balance and foresight with regard to international 

One has only to study the slogans which the students 
blazon on their processional banners and with which 
they disfigure the walls of Yamens and public buildings, 
to realise how inane, how remote from the realities 
which concern the Chinese masses, are the parrot cries 
of these hybrid Intellectuals and how pitifully the 
valour of their ignorance contrasts with the dignity and 
decorum of the old-time, classical mandarinate. The 
depths of emotional childishness to which sloganism has 
descended amongst China's modern students are almost 
unbelievable 5 their unvarying reiteration of machine- 
made platitudes constitutes in itself a continual indict- 
ment of the grievous error which the west has com- 
mitted, in assuming that its moral standards and 
political ideals could be transplanted wholesale and 
bring forth rare and refreshing fruity in a soil to which 


China's Modern Students 

they are, by their Oriental nature, unsuited. 

The pity 'tis, ''tis true. For these same students, 
drawn from every class of the Chinese people, are in- 
dividually as good human material as any civilisation 
has produced intelligent, by nature courteous and 
industrious, respecters of lawful authority. It is the 
tragedy of the present generation to have been born 
into an age lacking in that lawful authority which com- 
mands respect, and that their alien education,, while re- 
laxing that parental authority which is the corner-stone 
of China's social system, has rendered them unfit to 
play any useful part in the preservation of China's 
national civilisation and culture. From the Occidental 
point of view, the tragedy of the situation lies in the 
fact that the unmistakable tendency of the whole student 
movement since the Revolution has grown more and 
more hostile to foreigners in general and to Christians 
in particular} in other words, that they have accepted 
western learning simply as a means to an end, the same 
end as that which their fathers and their forefathers 
pursued before them, namely, to preserve themselves 
and their country from the West. 

This aspect of the problem,, the inherent, atavistic 
resistance of the Chinese Intellectual class to western 
spiritual values and modes of thought, has been recog- 
nised by many highly educated and thoughtful mis- 
sionaries during the last century, notably by scholar 
priests of the Roman Catholic faith and by Protestants 
of the type of the late Timothy Richard. Had their 
counsels prevailed, the western learning supplied to the 
youth of China would have been of a kind very different 
from that which has actually been provided since 1900, 
especially that supplied by the Free Church American 

135 K 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

Missionaries. The admirable elements of Confucianism 
and the social system founded upon reverence for 
parents would have been preserved (as Shintoism has 
been preserved in Japan) in order to supply the re- 
quisite steadying influences, during a necessarily long 
period of administrative reconstruction. But the earnest 
proselytisers, after the manner of their kind, were in 
a hurry and the present-day student is the result. 
Verily, they have their reward^ for no truth about China 
has emerged more clearly since the first introduction 
of "western learning," than that which the modern 
student now proclaims, namely, that western civilisation 
carries no more appeal to the Chinese mind to-day 
and probably much less than it did in the reign of 
Ch'ien Lung. Pausing on this conclusion,. I propose to 
diverge briefly from consideration of the actual course 
of events, to examine the commonly-accepted postulate, 
that a process of westernisation is essential to the future 
well-being of China, as well for the body as the soul^ 
and that this process is actually in course of being carried 
to a hopeful conclusion. 




"Asia is not going to be civilised after the methods of the 
West. There is too much Asia and she is too old. She will 
never attend Sunday School, or learn to vote, save with 
swords for tickets." Kipling. 

EVER since China was compelled, by force of arms, to 
accept the terms of the unequal Treaty of Tientsin in 
1858, the policies of the western Powers towards her 
have one and all been based upon the 1 assumption that 
her rulers were henceforth committed, and disposed, 
to westernise her administrative methods, political in- 
stitutions and social system $ also, that the process of 
westernisation might be expected to make rapid pro- 
gress, and that its complete fulfilment must be of in- 
disputable advantage to all concerned. Ten years after 
the conclusion of the Treaty of Tientsin, this assump- 
tion derived new force and world-wide acceptance from 
the special Mission conducted to America and Europe 
by Mr. Anson Burlingame, as Envoy and Minister 
Plenipotentiary on behalf of the Chinese Government. 
Mr. Burlingame, who had relinquished the post of 
American Minister at Peking to undertake this Mission, 
was an active politician and a practised orator j his 
eloquent descriptions of the New China, hungry and 
thirsty for western knowledge, aroused the keenest en- 
thusiasm all over the United States. At banquets and 
public meetings, from San Francisco to New York, he 
announced that the day had come when the Chinese 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

people were eager to extend their arms towards 'the 
shining banners of western civilisation'; that China was 
prepared to encourage the preaching of Christianity and 
to give a warm welcome to missionary enterprise ; that, 
in fact, she had quite definitely entered upon the path of 
reform and progress. The terms of the Treaty which he 
subsequently signed at Washington, on behalf of China, 
clearly reflected the deep impression which had been 
made on public opinion by his oratorical efforts and the 
fact that the American nation, firmly convinced of 
China's determination to reorganise her institutions on 
western lines, was disposed to give her all possible help 
and encouragement in so doing. The first seeds of the 
policy of benevolent non-interference, which came to 
fruition at Washington in 1921-22, were sown broad- 
cast by Anson Burlingame in 1868. 

The man who initiated the idea of the Burlingame 
Mission and persuaded the Chinese Government to 
adopt it, was Robert Hart,, the great "LG.," ever a loyal 
friend and prudent counsellor to China. His object, 
in which he fully succeeded, was by means of this 
Embassy to convince the outside world of China's good 
intentions^ in order that, relieved of coercion, she might 
be accorded fair treatment and time to adapt herself to 
the new order of things. From Dr. Morse's admirable 
history of this period, we know that Hart was a believer 
in the westernisation of China,, in certain directions and 
for reasons of expediency ; the measures of reform 
which he continually urged upon the Chinese Govern- 
ment, he regarded as "essential to friendly intercourse 
and their own safety" ... he earnestly endeavoured 
to convince them that their "only salvation lay in for- 
ward movement.' 7 


East and West: Can China be Westernised? 

But the man who succeeded Anson Burlingame as 
American Minister at Peking, Mr. J. Ross Browne, was, 
curiously enough, a realist in politics, who did his best 
to expose the fallacies underlying the sentimental ideal- 
ism of his predecessor and to warn his countrymen of 
the danger of founding a national policy upon them. In 
his reply to an address presented to him by the American 
and English merchants of Shanghai in July, 1869,. Mr. 
Ross Browne severely criticised the prevailing assump- 
tion of China's willingness to adopt western ideas, in 
words which have lost none of their cogency and 
common sense since they were spoken.* 

"Hart's advice/ 3 he observed, "was wholesome, and it 
seemed for a time to be appreciated. But the astute mandarins 
had no idea of advancing. They were chiefly concerned to 
know how they could prevent innovations upon their estab- 
lished system and at the same time avoid the troubles that 
threatened them. . . . China neither sees her way clear at 
present to an acceptance of the ameliorations proposed, nor 
has she, so far as facts warrant us in believing, the slightest 
desire to substitute foreign systems for those which have 
answered her purposes through so many generations. All that 
the rulers of this Empire desire is to be left free to work out 
their own destiny in their own way, and that is simply retro- 
gression and final relapse into barbarism. They make small 
concessions to avoid greater ones. The whole struggle is 
against making any at all. I state this, not in the way of 
depreciation, but as an incontrovertible fact, which we are 
bound to confront." 

Sixty-three years have passed since these words were 
uttered and during that time, the relations of the west- 
ern Powers with China, whether friendly or hostile, 
hopeful or pessimistic, have continually been based on 
the assumption that the necessity for westernisation was 

* As a prophetic utterance, Mr. Ross Browne's whole speech will 
repay careful study. It is reproduced as an appendix to the second 
volume of Mr. H. B. Morse's standard work on the International 
Relations of the Chinese Empire. 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

recognised in principle by the educated class, the rulers 
of China, and was in itself a process capable of achieve- 
ment. Nevertheless, during all these years, there has 
been unmistakable evidence, for those who sought it, 
that the professed acceptance of western ideas by China's 
ruling class has never been inspired by any genuine con- 
viction, or manifested in any definitely constructive 
purpose, but that it has always been due to motives of 
political expediency. To-day, thanks in great measure 
to the Kuomintang's skilful propaganda,, to the influence 
of the missionary societies, and to the "F. O. school of 
thought/ 7 China's determination and capacity to re- 
model her national life 1 upon western lines has become 
an almost incontestable axiom of international politics. 
This is only natural, for all the policies subscribed to 
by the Powers at Washington in 1922, all the activities 
of the great missionary and educational organisations 
since the beginning of the 1 century,, are baseless and 
of no effect, except upon the assumption that China's 
rulers are really sincere in their avowed intention to 
reform their judicial system to conform to the prin- 
ciples and practice of western nations; in other words, 
that they are ready and willing to substitute the 
western idea of government by law for the Oriental 
idea of government of human volition. Had there 
ever been the slightest evidence of a sincere inten- 
tion of this kind, of any general recognition of the 
necessity for applying those educational processes by 
which the Chinese race-mind might gradually be 
modified to acceptance of the western conception of 
justice and the institutions based upon it, it might 
be possible, on grounds of faith and hope, to justify 
this basic assumption, even for those who realise 


East and West: Can China be Westernised? 

that the modification of any firmly-rooted structural 
type is not the work of decades, but of centuries. 
But, in point of fact, there has been no such evidence 
of sincerity, while the proofs of insincerity are over- 

The political idealists at Geneva and elsewhere, who 
to-day profess their belief in the capacity of China's 
westernised Intelligentsia to achieve the evolutionary 
miracle of "passing at one stride from despotism by 
divine right to full-blown democracy," take both their 
sincerity of purpose and their power of achievement for 
granted. Since Anson Burlingame's day there has 
probably never been a more widespread acceptance 
of the vision of "the shining banners of western 
civilisation" being welcomed by the rulers of China. 
One has only to study the mass of recent litera- 
ture dealing with the Far East^ to perceive how 
greatly preponderant is the weight of this kind of 
sentimental idealism in intellectual and political circles, 
on both sides of the Atlantic, and how powerful 
(one might almost say hypnotic) has been the influ- 
ence of China's modern Intelligentsia, as political propa- 
ga,ndists, upon cultured western minds, especially thosd 
of professors and "liberal-thinking" politicians. The 
great majority of the works published since the Wash- 
ington Conference continually endeavour to interpret 
the -East, as depicted by Young China, in terms of the 
West, and in so doing they invariably attribute to the 
Chinese people purposes and qualities that are wholly 
foreign to the deep-rooted instincts and traditions of 
the race. All alike subscribe to the orthodox belief, that 
the impending and inevitable westernisation of China 
will eventually provide a sovereign remedy indeed, 


CHINA: The' Pity of It 

the only remedy for all the ills which afflict her 
people, and all are therefore naturally disposed to give 
every encouragement to the westernised Intellectuals 
who claim to govern the country and to support them 
in their political aspirations, no matter how extrava- 

Yet once again, as in Burlingame's day, an American 
Daniel has come to judgment With the indisputable 
authority of a thoroughly qualified observer, Mr. Owen 
Lattimore challenges the validity of this almost univer- 
sally accepted assumption, and declares the very 
different truth of the matter, in a work which deserves 
the attention of every student of Far Eastern affairs. 
Comparing the westernisation of China with that of 
Japan, in his chapter on "the Living Force of Chinese 
Culture,"* he observes that China of old never felt 
any interest in western civilisation, such curiosity as her 
rulers occasionally displayed being merely that of 
fashionable diversion. The interest which was awakened 
by the unpleasant discovery that China was vulnerable 
to western methods of attack, was primarily defensive 
and has remained essentially defensive ever since. The 
Mandarinate, humiliated and perplexed by new forces, 
for which its experience provided no remedy, resorted 
to 'western learning' in the same spirit as that in which 
it had adopted foreign military training and other 
western inventions, that is to say, in the hope of dis- 
covering the secret of western power, of finding the 
magic formula which contains the secret of that power, 
but which, when applied, need not entail the price of 

* From Manchuria, Cradle of Cjnflict. By Owen Lattimore. By 
permission of the publishers, Macmillan and Co., Ltd. 

Ea,st and West: Can China be Westernised? 
Says Mr. Lattimore: 

"While the power of many western inventions has been 
recognised and the profit to be realised from many western 
methods, no single quality of the West, no subjective con- 
viction, has truly appealed to the Chinese. The western style, 
for the Chinese, reveals no new dispensation nor any opening 
up of first and desirable, or morally superior, worlds of in- 
spiring possibilities. There is nothing in it that, from the 
standard of Chinese spiritual values, it would be disgraceful 
to have to go without. 

"While Japan manoeuvred for time to adopt western char- 
acteristics and catch up with the West, the whole history of 
Chinese relations with the West implies an underlying in- 
stinctive playing for time, in the hope that the West would 
exhaust itself and China be able to assert once more the 
superiority of which the Chinese are morally convinced. The 
normal type of the Chinese 'employment of western methods 
to defeat the West' has consistently been, not the adoption 
of western methods in order to attain western standards, but 
the interposition of western methods between China and the 
West, in order to stave off the West; and this type of 
manoeuvre can only be explained, viewing the conflict from 
the standpoint of China, by postulating as ideal some such 
eventual solution as the sloughing off of the West, and the 
survival of the Chinese tradition in its full integrity." 

Finally, it is his considered opinion an opinion fully 
confirmed by study of the writings and utterances of 
most modern Chinese writers that intellectual circles 
all over China are as much concerned with the possi- 
bilities of decay and collapse in the civilisation of the 
West, as they are with the suitability of western stan- 
dards for adoption in China. 

"The very circles which are most progressive in clearing 
away medievalism, in improving administration and western- 
ising economic affairs, are fitted with a strong and conscious 
pride in the Chinese point of view, the Chinese way of life, 
and the superiority of the basic values of Chinese civilisation 
over those of the West." 

Those who have followed the course of China's 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

foreign relations, from the time of the first European 
Embassies to the Court of Peking down to the present 
day, must admit the validity of these conclusions. They 
are confirmed, at every stage and period, by the policy 
of the country's rulers and by the unmistakable reser- 
vations of moral superiority implied, even in crises of 
humiliation and defeat, in the attitude of its most "pro- 
gressive" viceroys, envoys and scholars j as witness the 
writings of statesmen such as Li Hung-chang, Chang 
Chih-tung, Wu Ting-fang, and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, of the 
pre-revolutionary period, as well as those of Sun Yat- 
sen, Wang Ching-wei, Hu Shih and other publicists^ 
who have achieved distinction under the Republic. 

If, as the history of the past fifty years and the actual 
condition of affairs would appear to indicate, Mr. Latti- 
more's judgment is well-founded, it must follow that 
the ideas now generally accepted concerning the 
westernisation of China will eventually be proved 
fallacious and that the policies which have been per- 
sistently based upon them are policies of delusion, fore- 
doomed to futility. There is certainly nothing in the 
present situation in China, or in the dominant morality 
of her rulers, to refute or modify the opinion expressed 
by Mr. Ross Browne in 1869: China,, in her heart, "has 
not the slightest desire to substitute foreign systems 
for those which have answered her purposes through so 
many generations." There are winds of unrest on the 
surface, but the depths remain inaccessible, unmoved. 

In another passage of his most instructive work, Mr. 
Owen Lattimore observes that, in Manchuria, the 
native's instinctive c hope of deliverance from the West 5 
takes the form of a widespread, eager expectation that 
"China may yet some day, from within the repository 


East and West: Can China be Westernised? 

of her own traditions, produce 1 a latent strength, which 
can in some manner be triumphantly revived and de- 
veloped^ to the overthrow and consternation of all 
foreign power and foreign standards, and enable 
Chinese Manchuria to vindicate its Chinese character." 
This undoubtedly accurate diagnosis of the Chinese 
race-mind's attitude towards the West acquires increased 
significance when we consider that the leaders of 
Nationalism in Japan have recently revived the slogan 
of "Back to Asia." "Convinced " (in the words of Mr. 
Kaku Mori) "that Japan's present plight is due to her 
surrender to western civilisation," they are determined 
"to part company with that materialistic civilisation, to 
return to their own spiritual life and seek to preserve 
Asia in accordance with their own culture." The racial 
instincts and feelings which inspire utterances such as 
these, lie far deeper in China than in Japan,, because 
Chinese unity throughout the ages has always been that 
of a civilisation of culture, rather than that of an or- 
ganised State, and because this indigenous culture is of its 
nature inarticulate. But, if we recognise this resistance, 
this hostility, to western ideas, as a deep-rooted instinct, a 
permanent force and a living reality in Asia, we may well 
ask ourselves how comes it that the great illusion of the 
impending westernisation of China has established itself 
so firmly in the public mind of Engand and America? 
How account for the fact that the great majority of 
'Liberal thinking' politicians, professors and publicists, 
persistently assert, in the words of one writer, that 
"there is no longer any question of resistance to western 
ideas in China, the only question being whether the 
centre from which they radiate shall be Moscow or 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

With regard to this question, it is important to re- 
member that the belief in China's determination to 
westernise her national life and institutions had come to 
bd widely accepted in England and America, long be- 
fore the Great War and the Washington Conference 
had established the present consensus of idealist opinion. 
Its influence may be traced as far back as the days of the 
Taiping rebellion; it suffered a temporary relapse dur- 
ing the period immediately preceding the Boxer up- 
heaval^ but recovered strength from the Empress 
Dowager's chastened acceptance of western learning in 
1905, and thereafter grew, as has been shown in pre- 
vious chapters, with the rapid increase in the number 
of westernised students at home and abroad. Traced to 
its source, the conviction itself represents, like the 
Crusades, the proselytising fervour of Europe's active, 
self -helping races, and of the direct contacts established 
between their materialistic civilisation and political in- 
stitutions, with those of passive, philosophic China. 
But it is a belief which, even when most definitely 
asserted, has usually been tempered by tacit recognition 
of the intellectual and moral qualities of Asia's oldest 
civilisation, and by the instinctive deference which is so 
frequently paid to the cultured representatives of that 
civilisation ancient and modern by western Intellec- 

This deferential attitude' is a phenomenon not un- 
worthy of note^ for it has continually manifested itself, 
as the result of similar contacts, at every stage of our 
relations with China, since the pioneer days of the East 
India Company. In recent times, thanks to the persua- 
sive faculty of Young China's exotic Intellectuals, this 
deferential attitude has been so marked (notably in the 


East and West: Can China be Westernised? 

Conferences of the Institute of Pacific Relations and the 
League of Nations) that it would seem in itself, to 
afford no little justification for the unchanging belief of 
the Chinese in the inherent superiority of their own 
type of civilisation. 

How comes it, we may ask, at a time when every- 
thing in the real condition of China emphasises the in- 
difference of its rulers to western ideas and their un- 
swerving adherence to Chinese lines of thought and 
standards of conduct, that this illusive belief in the 
westernisation of the country has held the field so long 
and still persists? Partial explanations of this phen- 
omenon have been supplied in the chapters which deal 
with the missionary factor and with Kuomintang propa- 
ganda. To these may be added the subsidiary explana- 
tion that, for the past thirty years, the two classes of 
foreigners resident in China, upon which public opinion 
abroad relies chiefly for information that is to say, the 
traders and the missionaries have been practically com- 
pelled, by the very nature' of their respective position 
and callings, to accept and proclaim this great illusion 
as the only true faith. Ever since the introduction of 
western learning, they have had practically no choice 
in the matter j they could not hope to pursue their law- 
ful occasions in peace^ unless they were prepared to 
conciliate the rising generation, the new student class 
and the 'progressive' Intelligentsia, these having be- 
come the most vocal and best organised force in Chinese 
politics. Moreover, the class interests and professed 
purposes of the 'progressives' were naturally regarded 
by European residents as results arising directly out of 
the new concerted policy of the Powers, as laid down at 
Washington, and therefore, with all their faults, 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

deserving of loyal support. 

Loyalty apart^ the reticence generally observed by 
the foreign communities in China* of late years may 
fairly be attributed to the unanimity of political opinion 
with which their Home Governments have supported 
the policy of non-interference and patient conciliation 
since the Washington Conference, and by the high 
moral tone adopted by their diplomatic and consular 
authorities, in impressing upon them the irrevocable 
nature of this policy. In the rarefied atmosphere of 
idealism thus created, the trader was constrained to re- 
gard himself as a somewhat sordid anachronism and his 
interests as comparatively unimportant. He might, in 
his heart, concur in Mr. Ross Browne's opinion, that 
things being as they are, the path of self-determination 
for China must lead, in the end, to "retrogression and 
final relapse into barbarism"} he might question the wis- 
dom of sacrificing two centuries of commercial enterprise 
to political ideals of more than doubtful applicability} 
but he found himself in a position which left him no 
alternative but to make a virtue of necessity. And those 
whose knowledge of things Chinese was confined to 
experience at the Treaty Ports, were, no doubt, im- 
pressed by the imposing programmes of reform, pro- 
mulgated with such indefatigable fervour by the propa- 
gandists of the Kuomintang, at home and abroad. The 
foreign Press of the Far East bears witness, during the 
past decade, to the readiness of the community to be 
persuaded that the leaders of the Nationalist party 
were sincere in their professed determination to carry 

* An exception is to be noted in the case of the British Community 
of Tientsin, whose Committee of Information continually endeavoured 
to keep public opinion in England advised in regard to the actual con- 
dition of China. 


East and West: Can China be Westernised? 

out the pledges which they had given at Washington? 
especially those referring to the disbandment of armed 
forces and the reform of the judicial system. 

But as time went on, it became more and more evident 
that the fulfilment of these pledges was limited to the 
promulgation of grandiloquent programmes at Nan- 
king and elaborate window dressing at Geneva. Short 
of Attempting to carry out any of the promised ref orms, 
the Kuomintang did everything possible to maintain the 
illusion of China's progress in westernisation, but, as 
will be shown when we come to consider the realities of 
the situation, none of the parties in power during this 
period, from Canton to Chihli, has ever produced a 
type of leadership^ or committed itself to a policy 
which gives evidence of any sincere desire to adopt 
western ideas. There is, in fact, nothing in the attitude 
and actions of China's rulers to-day which can justify 
the belief that the political thought and morality of 
the educated class have been in any appreciable degree 
modified by contact with the West} while on every 
hand, and most notably in the administration of justice 
and finance, there is indisputable evidence to prove 
that the western innovations serenely accepted in prin- 
ciple, are in practice fundamentally alien to the spirit 
of Chinese culture. The rulers of China to-day, from 
Chiang K'ai-shek down to the small chieftains of the 
farthest frontiers^ are men who despotically control 
their own armed forces, command the sources and out- 
put of industry, use the railways for their exclusive 
benefit, and levy taxes as they see fit. The ambitions 
of these leaders are the only vital realities; the role of 
the Intellectuals is confined, in practical politics, to 
furthering these ambitions. Foreign mechanical inven- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

tions, for purposes of war and peace, are sought and 
employed for purely material ends,, either to dominate 
a rival at home., or to create abroad the impression of 
enlightened progress and latent power. 

But when all is said and done, the innate conser- 
vatism which marks even the most progressive intellec- 
tual circles all over China and, beneath a thin veneer of 
western culture, inspires all the policies of her rulers, 
fittingly represents the true spirit of the Chinese people. 
Even if 3 as in Afghanistan, a dominant political party or 
an autocratic ruler should arise, determined to make 
westernisation a reality^ and, in so doing, endeavour to 
apply the new Law Codes,, with their rules of evidence 
and western conception o justice, to the everyday life 
of the Chinese, the experiment must inevitably end in 
failure. For while the great mass of the illiterate regard 
with tolerance the strange foreign ways and ideas of the 
new type of semi-westernised mandarin confined in 
great measure to the vicinity of the Treaty Ports they 
would assuredly resist with all the weight of their 
massive inertia, any innovations which threaten to dis- 
turb the unbroken continuity of tradition in regard to 
the things which matter in their eyes, the ancient cus- 
toms and ways of the Middle Kingdom, as prescribed 
from time immemorial. They would gladly welcome 
the strong hand of any authority which might put an 
end to the evils which have come upon them for the past 
twenty years, gladly see the bandit return to peaceful 
paths of labour and the taxgatherer's exactions re- 
strained within lawful limits. But, come what may^ the 
race has often endured similar cycles of calamity in the 
past and, in spite of them, has preserved its belief in 
the Celestial scheme of things and its philosophic accept- 


East and West: Can China be Westernised? 

ance of the problems of life' and death. 

Here we touch the very root of this question of the 
westernisation of China, f or, thus regarded, it becomes 
the question of a people losing its own soul. Those fer- 
vent Internationalists who envisage the evolution of a 
world State, in which there shall be no more "kindred 
and tongue, people or nation," a cosmopolitan world 
made free for a completely standardised democracy, 
naturally regard the westernisation of China, and of all 
Asia, as a consummation devoutly to be wished. But 
even assuming, for purposes of argument, that the de- 
sired process might conceivably be concluded this side of 
the millennium, there still remains, for philosophic 
minds, the question whether the present type of western 
civilisation represents the last word in human wisdom 
and whether, indeed, it is demonstrably superior to that 
of China? What is there, we may ask, so undeniably 
enviable or permanent in the recent life history and 
present institutions of Europe and America, that en- 
titles us to impose them upon the Chinese? What is 
there in them to justify the desire, or the attempt, to 
uproot and destroy the whole Chinese system of ethics, 
morals and culture, a system which had proved its en- 
during worth long before the light of letters dawned 
upon Greece and Rome? Would it not be far wiser 
to help China to add the necessary structure of western 
science and economics, as K'ang Yu-wei and Chang 
Chih-tung advised, upon the solid rock of her own civili- 

Regarding the matter in this lighty we may well con- 
sider what are the forces which have built up and pre- 
served China's venerable civilisation, like a safe har- 
bour of refuge upon the wreck-strewn shores of Time? 

151 L 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

What are the forces which have enabled her people, 
times without number, to lead captivity captive and, 
se'cure in their deep-rooted strength, to hear the legions 
thunder by and heed them not at all? Surely, the 
answer must be that the longevity of China's civilisation 
is due to its instinctive reliance upon moral, as distinct 
from material* forces and to the wisdom which has 
harmonised the nation's social and political institutions 
with the essential realities of existence and human 
nature? The essence of China's culture and polity pro- 
ceeds from universal acceptance of the family system 
and all that it entails, codified by Confucianism and 
tempered by the gentle teachings of Gautama. Destroy 
this system, and with it you destroy the very soul of 

If we scan the future destinies of mankind by the 
dim light of history, it would seem that, pending evi- 
dence to show that internationalism is a living reality 
and a guiding force amongst western nations, we should 
do what in us lies to preserve inviolate this soul of the 
East, the tranquil philosophy which is the birthright, not 
of its intellectual elite, but of its ' stupid people 7 } also 
that, as citizens r of a troubled world, we should be 
eternally grateful for it, even as wayfarers are grateful 
for the shadow of a spreading tree in a dry land. For 
who shall say, looking to the signs and portents of our 
vexed modernity, that this machine-driveny time-killing 
civilisation of ours may not weary of its congested, pipe- 
lined cities and be led once more to learn from the East 
something of the secret of its serenity and time-tested 

If so, what is to be said for the activities of those 
whose proselytising or vocational zeal leads them to 


East and West: Can China be Westernised? 

proclaim the belief that China can be made happier or 
better by virtue of social and political institutions which, 
by their very nature, are manifestly irre'conciliable with 
the ingrained habits and beliefs of the Chinese people? 
Is it not, in truth, a pitiful thing, and an unwarranted 
encroachment upon China's "Great Inheritance," that 
Wd should seek to lead the minds of so many of her 
ruling class into paths remote from the thoughts and 
ways of their own people, by the false lures of 'western 
learning.' Even though, as we know, they tread these 
paths unconvinced, and without thought of following 
them to the end^ the actual result has been to bring 
grievous confusion and much suffering to the common 
people, uncertain of their leaders in a world invaded by 
new and strange gods. 




FROM his masterly survey of the relations between 
Europe and China up to the end of the eighteenth 
century, Mr. G. F. Hudson* concludes that, in spite of 
the advance in sinological scholarship achieved during 
the nineteenth century, educated public opinion in 
Europe was better informed about China at the end 
of the eighteenth} the explanation being that the 
eighteenth century derived most of its knowledge from 
the writings of Jesuit missionaries, whose profound 
knowledge of the language, literature and customs of 
the country enabled them to grasp the meaning of things 
Chinese, and who had no political or other motive for 
misrepresenting them. After the establishment of 
regular direct intercourse and the first contacts of armed 
forces of the nineteenth century, the opinions about 
China which came to be held in Europe and America 
lost this quality of scientific and philosophic detach- 
ment} they necessarily reflected, in rapidly increas- 
ing measure, the conflicting opinions of men who 
approached the subject from the various points of their 
vocational or professional interests and prejudices, the 
opinions of merchant adventurers, of Protestant mis- 
sionary pioneers^ special ambassadors and sea captains, 
each and all naturally predisposed to find in Far Cathay 
that which he! set forth to seek. One has but to study 
the records of the super-cargoes of the East India 

* Europe and China. (Arnold, 1931.) 


China in Recent Literature 

Company* at Canton after the death of Lord Napier in 
1834, and to compare their conception of China with 
that which inspired their Board of Directors in London, 
to realise how difficult it was becoming, even at that 
early date, for the c man in the street' to form a clear 
opinion upon any phase or aspect of Chinese affairs j 
and as, with the development of the opium question, 
these became increasingly involved in the welter of 
party politics, the comparatively definite and truthful 
picture which the Jesuit Fathers had given to the world, 
became more and more blurred and distorted. Thus, 
during the long-drawn slaughter of the Taiping Re- 
bellion, educated opinion was greatly confused and 
divided as to the nature and origin of the 1 movement, 
because of the widely-proclaimed missionary belief in 
the Christianity of its leaders 5 and it may be said, with- 
out fear of contradiction by any serious student of 
history^ that from that time, until the siege of the Lega- 
tions by the Boxers in 1900, the vacillating and ineffec- 
tive policies of the Foreign Powers in China continually 
reflected, not only their failure to preserve' any con- 
tinuity of principle, but their increasing lack of definite 
knowledge, based on correlated facts. 

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, such 
knowledge as the eighteenth and nineteenth possessed, 
has gradually been rendered more obscurd, and educated 
opinion increasingly confused, by reason of the propa- 
ganda, skilfully devised and widely distributed abroad 
by the agents of the Kuomintang, whereby a completely 
misleading idea of Chinese affairs has been created and 
successfully maintained. And side by side with this in- 

* The Chronicles of the East India Company Trading in China. By 
H. B. Morse. (Clarendon Press, 1926.) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

tensive suggestio fdsi, there has been developed, since 
the southern "Nationalists" overcame their northern 
rivals and removed the capital to Nanking, a deliberate 
policy of sup'pressio vert, which has not only deprived 
the vernacular Press of the last vestiges of freedom but, 
emboldened by impunity, has established an effectively 
coercive censorship over the writings of foreign authors 
and journalists resident in China. With the rare ex- 
ceptions, therefore, of works from time to time pub- 
lished by the few writers who combine accurate know- 
ledge and sound judgment with personal independence, 
most of the materials which have gone to the making 
of opinion abroad have been either inspired or approved 
by the Kuomintang authorities. The foreign Press, 
at the Treaty Ports in particular, has in. recent 
years been so forcibly convinced of the pains and 
penalties of plain speaking, that its utterances have be- 
come! acquiescent to the point of deference and its atti- 
tude towards the powers that be is pathetically eloquent 
of the insistence with which the policy of patient concili- 
ation has been enjoined upon them from Westminster 
and Washington. No newspaper, conducted as a busi- 
ness enterprise, can afford serious criticism of an 
oligarchy which does not hesitate to withdraw postal, 
telegraphic and transport facilities from those who ven- 
ture to hold it up to censure. 

The methods employed by the Kuomintang authori- 
ties to prevent the publication of any criticism of its 
actions, or opinions opposed to its policies, are many and 
various, but all display the quality of drastic, autocratic 
ruthlessness characteristic of Oriental despotism. In the 
case of journalists of repute, such as Hallett Abend, of 
the New York Times , and Rodney Gilbert of the North 


China in Recent Literature 

China Daily News, who knew their facts and were not 
afraid to state them, measure's were adopted, including 
an official demand for their deportation, which eventu- 
ally compelled them to leave the country. The reader 
will find the facts recorded in the books* subsequently 
published, more in sorrow than in anger, by these 
competent witnesses. Especially informative is Mr. 
Abend's description of the official Propaganda Bureau, 
created by the Nanking Government in January, 1930^ 
to work in conjunction with international publicity 
offices in London, New York and Shanghai, for the 
purpose of misleading public opinion abroad, while 
rigorously suppressing the freedom of the Press at 

But it is not only in the field of journalism that the 
Kuomintang executive have displayed their autocratic 
unwillingness to permit the circulation of any opinions 
which do not meet with their approval. They have 
shown themselves equally prepared to prevent the pub- 
lication of serious historical works by authors whose 
account of events contains anything which does not coin- 
cide with the official view. Thus Professor Shryock, of 
Pennsylvania University, in the preface to his erudite 
study of The Origin and Development of the State 
Cult of Confucius j is at pains to explain that he has not 
made use of the Ch'ing Shih Kao, or dynastic history 
of the Manchu period, "because it does not seem 
wise to quote as an authority a work which the 
present Chinese Government considers so objection- 
able that it has been suppressed." In the same 
spirit Chin Shih Huang burned the books of the Con- 

* Tortured China. By Hallett Abend. (Allen and Unwin, 1931-) 
What's Wrong with China; The Unequal Treaties. By Rodney Gilbert. 
(John Murray, 1926, 1929-) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

fucians, 200 years before Christ. 

An equally interesting example of the Kuomintang 
official attitude towards historians is the case of the well- 
known textbook on Far Eastern International Relations, 
by Dr. H. B, Morse and Professor H. F. MacNair. 
The first edition of this work was published at Shanghai 
in 1928, but was withdrawn from sale and circulation 
within a month of its appearance, as the result of 
pressure brought to bear upon its Chinese publishers 
by members of the Nanking Government, who took 
exception to its description of events in China during 
the years 1925-27. In his foreword to the subsequently 
published American edition* Professor MacNair ob- 
serves that the book had achieved the unique distinction 
of being the first work by a foreigner to come under 
the official ban and sentence of burning. It is a curious 
fact, indicative of the true nature of China's present 
discontents, that such a fate should have been re- 
served for the work of two writers whose names 
are honourably known throughout the East for loyal 
services rendered to China in all sympathy and good- 

Under these circumstances, it will be readily under- 
stood that the sources of accurate and impartially pre- 
sented information concerning actual conditions in 
China, are few and far between, and that public opinion 
needs to be increasingly cautious and discriminating in 
accepting many of the conclusions which have become 
the common currency of contemporary publicists, especi- 
ally those that are set before it with the magisterial 
assurance of learned professors. It may fairly be said 
that, during the decade which has elapsed since the 

* Houghton Miflin Co. (New York, 1931.) 


China in Recent Literature 

Washington Conference, most of the books (fiction 
apart) that have been written around and about things 
Chinese, have been the work of authors who are pre- 
pared to subscribe to the fashionable belief in the im- 
pending westernisation of China, and in the capacity of 
its modern Intelligentsia to provide, in due time, the 
c stable and effective' government^ for which the nations 
wait. The books produced during this period have been, 
in fact, with a few notable exceptions, of a nature to 
render more persistent and widespread those facile but 
dangerous delusions, which first made themselves felt in 
Far Eastern politics at the time of the Burlingame 
Mission, and which constituted the dominant influence 
at the Washington Conference, fifty years later. 
Roughly speaking, they may be divided into two 
classes, those which come under the heading of political 
propaganda, direct or indirect, conscious or unconscious} 
and those; which do not. Unfortunately, the latter class 
is much the smaller of the two. 

It would serve no good purpose to compile a detailed 
list and analysis of all the works included under these 
two categories, but it may serve the cause of educated 
opinion to refer to some of the most important and 
interesting of them. 

Amongst those which have played a notable part in 
influencing public opinion, before and during the Wash- 
ington Conference, must be mentioned the large number 
of works which at that period reflected the rapidly- 
increasing influence of American-educated students in 
the politics of the far East. Writing in 1921 in the 
Atlantic Monthly, on the future of the Pacific Problem, 
I observed that those who had occasion to study the 
signs of the times by the light of recent American litera- 

CHINA: The Pity of It 
tare dealing with that problem, could hardly fail to 

"have been, impressed by the unvarying similarity of 
opinions expressed, and policies advocated by, the semi- 
official propagandists of Young China such as Dr. M. T. Z. 
Tyau, Mr. S. G. Cheng and Mr. Joshua Bau* and those set 
forth in such widely-read works as Mr. Mark Sullivan's 
Great Adventure at Washington, Mr. Sydney Greenbie's 
Pacific Triangle, and Mr. Alex Powell's Asm at the Cross 
Roads. These last may not represent the official mind of 
America, but they do most undeniably represent the views 
of those from whom great numbers of well-meaning but 
uninstructed readers take their opinions, and ultimately a 
dead weight of prejudice, which in its turn is bound to affect 
American policy. 

"The tone and temper of these books and others pub- 
lished during and since the Washington Conference, are 
generally speaking, such that no impartial observer, alive 
to the stern realities underlying the Pacific problem,, can 
easily persuade himself that it is likely to be permanently 
and peacefully settled; for there is little or no evidence here 
of any broad-minded sympathetic recognition of the real 
issues involved, nor any definite attempt to solve the problem 
in a spirit of 'harmonious co-operation' and reasonable 

Seven years later, discussing the great and increasing 
output, by the professors and alumni of American uni- 
versities, of books dealing with the history, economics 
and social conditions of China, I pointed out that the 1 
quantity and quality of these works were natural results 
of the large numbers of Chinese students frequenting 
these centres of learning, and of the close 1 relations exist- 
ing between these 'centres and the great missionary 
societies. Five separate histories of China in two years 
would appear to indicate competitive over-production 
by a highly protected industry, but the explanation of 
this feverish output lies undoubtedly, to a great extent^ 

* China Awakened. By M. T, Z. Tyau. (Macmillan, 1922.) Modern 
China. ByS. G.Cheng. (Clarendon Press, 1919.) The Foreign Relations 
of China. ByjM. J. Ban, (New York, 1922.) 

1 60 

China in Recent Literature 

in the enthusiasm engendered in the professorial mind 
by contact with young China's "Intellectuals." Most of 
these books belong naturally to the textbook class j as 
such, they compel the melancholy reflection that the 
ideas of the rising generation in America, on the subject 
of China's domestic affairs and foreign relations, are 
bound to be largely based on fallacies and delusions, 
and therefore in the long run harmful to all concerned. 
For these books are essentially academic in their out- 
look and their authors, generally without direct know- 
ledge of the Orient, bring to bear upon the problem 
which is China, a purely subjective philosophy and a 
sentimental idealism, similar to those with which Presi- 
dent Wilson confronted the realities of world politics 
at Versailles. Here and there works emerge (e.g.. Pro- 
fessor Young's historical study of The International 
Relations of Mmchwria or Professor Thomas's Chinese 
Political Thought) which give evidence of serious re- 
search work and philosophic detachment} but the spirit 
which usually characterises these 1 academic excursions to 
the East is one of vague and misdirected idealism. There 
is evidence, in the institutions of higher learning, of a 
laudable desire to adopt a 'world point of view/ but in 
dealing with China, this point of view frequently suffers 
from too close association with the prevalent type of 
sentimental opinion, which persists in endeavouring to 
interpret the East in terms of the West. As expressed 
in many of these works, it is a point of view which repre- 
sents, no doubt, the great middle mass of American 
opinion, complacently benevolent and optimistic, which 
has always been taught to believe! in the possibility of 
reconciling economic laws with altruistic ideals, and in- 
cidentally of Americanising the soul of the East by 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

means of religious and educational activities. Only a 
working knowledge of the realities of Eastern life, 
based on direct observation, can correct the misappre- 
hensions thus created. Even scholarly works, such as 
those of Professor Vinacke and Professor Treat,* when 
they come to deal with the post-revolutionary period 
of China's recent history,, are manifestly influenced by 
the belief prevalent in educational circles y that the 
political activities of the westernised (espedally the 
Americanised) section of young China, represent the 
conscious aspirations of the newly-awakened Chinese 
masses a belief impossible to be held by anyone with 
direct knowledge of the physical and spiritual condition 
of those masses. Nor do they wholly escape from the 
contagion of the popular fallacy which se'es in demo- 
cratic institutions, the sovereign remedy for "Im- 
perialism", militarism and all the other ills which 
afflict the body politic in China. Professors, after all, 
are human ; and in this case, like the human society of 
which they are a product, they contrive to live and to 
write quite contentedly under a logically-indefensible 
compromise, between the' exotic ideal of altruistic inter- 
nationalism and an everyday domestic environment of 
robust nationalism. 

Setting aside purely propagandist works such as those 
of Mr. Thomas Millard (one of several American ad- 
visers at Nanking), Colonel Malo-ne (one time emissary 
to China of the British Independent Labour Party) or 
"Upton Close" (lecturer on Pacific Asian life and 
politics at the University of Washington), the reader 
will find this compromise very frequently expressed in 

* A History of the Far East in Modern Times. By Professor Vinacke, 
University of Cincinnati. (1928.) The Far East. By Professor Treat. 
(Stamford University Press, 1928.) 


China in Recent Literature 

an attitude which is generally content to ignore the 
essential realities of the situation; and this despite the 
fact that these realities have been most carefully studied 
and accurately stated by a small group of thoroughly 
competent American authorities, including Dr. H. B. 
Morse, W. H. Mallory, John Earl Baker and Owen 
Lattimore.* In certain cases, this attitude is manifestly 
the result of a $arti pris, resulting either from the voca- 
tional enthusiasm of the educationalist, or from a politi- 
cal biasj in others, it is due to lack of real knowledge 
of the subject and generally expresses conclusions which 
have been hastily arrived at in personally-conducted 
tours of the East, magisterial joy-rides in which the 
professorial or magisterial eye discovers only that which 
it went out for to see. Even in the case of learned sino- 
logues, such as Mr. Williams (Professor of Oriental 
languages at California University), vocational enthusi- 
asm is apt to outweigh the teachings of direct experi- 
ence and to produce results of a nature to mislead the 
uninitiated. Like Mr. Holcombef (Professor of 
Government at Harvard) or Professor Willoughby$ 
(recently official adviser to the Chinese delegates at 
Geneva) he looks to the intellectual offspring of 
American missionary and educational work in China to 
'build there a Republic that shall be worthy to stand 
alongside of America.' A very natural wish is father to 

* The Chronicles of the East India Company Trading in China. By 
H. B. Morse. (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1926.) China: Land of Famine. 
By Walter H. Mallory. (American Geographical Society, New York, 
1926.) Explaining China. By John Earl Baker. (Phttpot, 1927.) 
Manchuria, Cradle of Conflict. By Owen Lattimore. (Macmillan, 1932.) 
A Short History of China. By Professor Williams. (Harpers, 1929.) 

t The Spirit of the Chinese Revolution. By Professor Holcombe. 

$ Foreign Rights and Interests in China. By Professor Willoughby. 
(Probstain, 1927.) Constitutional Government in China, Present Con- 
ditions and Prospects. By Professor Willoughby. (1922.) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

this comfortable and widespread belief; but to share it, 
one must disregard the! fact that no such uplifting deter- 
mination has ever been manifested by these westernised 
students, in any permanently effective form during the 
three generations that have elapsed since the first batch 
went forth under Yung Wing, to be educated at 
American Universities, although several of them subse- 
quently rose to high office. One must also overlook 
thd whole record and character of the western-educated 
leaders of the nationalist movement since the Revolu- 
tion^ and especially those of the Cantonese 'Parliamen- 
tary' group. But the academic mind, as reflected in 
these and many similar books, persists in believing that 
to-morrow must be entirely different from yesterday or 
to-day, and looks for the salvation ( of China to the 
modern mandarin of its own dreams a disinterested 
patriot of enlightened ideas, with a Harvard educa- 
tion, horn-rimmed spectacles^ a single wife and a fixed 

The writings of men like Professor Holcombe and 
Professor Paul Monroe* have reached a large audience 
and exercised considerable weight, because their authors 
speak with the authority of men who have studied 
Chinese affairs on the spot. But their interest in years 
to come will lie chiefly in the fact that, each in his way, 
they represent instructive examples of the forces which 
have largely contributed to create and perpetuate 1 the 
present conditions of political and social unrest in 
China. Mr. Holcombe's book (reproducing a series of 
lectures delivered at the 1 Lowell Institute of Boston) 
affords a particularly edifying manifestation of the 

* China, a Nation in Evolution. By Professor Paul Monroe. (Mac- 
millan, 1928, 


China in Recent Literature 

manner in which these forces work. In it he analyses, 
under six headings, the spirit o the Chinese Revolution 
and "the factors which seemed to him most important 
in the present phase of the revolutionary process." All 
the things which he saw, and the men whom he met,, 
during his tour of the Far East, were of a character to 
confirm his ardent faith in the' future of China, wisely 
and orderly governed by graduates from American 
Colleges. "All the principal bureau chiefs in the Minis- 
try of Finance were Harvard Graduates," he writes, 
"and I could not help but feel that the prestige of 
Harvard was at stake in their conduct of the national 
finances." From this gratifying fact and others like it, 
Professor Holcombe concludes that East and West have 
now finally met and that all is henceforth well with the 
Chinese world. He sees no reason why Chiang K'ai- 
shek and his colleagues should not proceed forthwith 
to train the Chinese masses in the duties of democratic 
citizenship, in accordance with the enlightened principles 
of Sun Yat-sen ? s political philosophy, or why the nation, 
under the guidance of the Three Principles, should not 
be able to develop the morale requisite for state capital- 
ism and the evolution of a modern capitalist class. 
Opinions such as these evidently derive their chief im- 
portance from the fact that they represent the views of 
a large and very influential body of educationalists, and 
that their professorial bias undoubtedly appeals to a 
very large body of public opinion. 

Mention has already been made* of Professor 
MacNair's expansion of Dr. H. B. Morse's standard 
work on China's international relations under the title 
of Far Eastern International Relations. This compre- 
hensive historical study combines scrupulous accuracy 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

of detail with conciseness of style, and the unbiassed 
attitude, which distinguished Dr. Morse's original 
work; is well maintained by his collaborator, though 
tempered,' in respect of the post-revolutionary period, 
by his natural sympathy for Young China's political 
aspirations. As a textbook for students it is invaluable, 
covering in its 840 pages all that is important in the 
history of the Far East, from the first contacts of the 
West down to the present triangular struggle in Man- 
churia; its selected bibliography and Index cover 66 
page's. Equally valuable, as sources of accurate informa- 
tion, are Mr. John Earl Baker's Explaining China and 
Mr. Mallory's China, Land of Famine. Both these 
books are the work of trained observers,, whose scientific 
conclusions are based on carefully collected facts. Mr. 
Baker has spent many years serving China in various 
capacities; like Mr. Mallory, he has dealt with famine, 
and 'other grim realities of Chinese life, at close 
quarters. He makes no claim to the magisterial finality 
of the; political perambulators who, after spending six 
weeks at highbrow conferences, proceed to enlighten 
the world with their preconceived and firmly-fixed 
ideas. The reader will find in his work little or no refer- 
ence to the individual war-lords and politicians who 
emerge from time to time from the welter of civil 
strife; but he will find in it much solid material, where- 
with to form a generally accurate idea of the funda- 
mental factors of the Chinese problem. Similarly, Mr. 
Mallory's study of the causes and results of chronic 
famine conditions in China conveys more essential in- 
, and carries more conviction, than all the 
i'i'.es^ays of the politicians, so strangely in- 
ti as a rule* to human suffering in the mass. In 

China in Recent Literature 

simple language, Mr. Mallory sets forth the true ex- 
planation of the all-important, tragic fact that, as 
an inevitable result of its patriarchal social system, the 
Chinese race has dwelt for ages, under the imminent 
menace of famine 5 and he makes it plain that, so long 
as this social system based on ancestor worship persists, 
the paramount motive underlying all political move- 
ments must continue to be "the old spirit of family 
enrichment at the expense of other families." 

These last two books differ from the great majority 
of those that have been written around and about China 
since the Revolution, in that they are 1 chiefly concerned 
with the effect of the political upheaval and civil strife 
upon the inarticulate, long-suffering masses, and upon 
the slow-moving mind of the "stupid people." On this 
subject the world has learned but little from the great 
majority of foreign observers, and practically nothing 
from any Chinese writer j only from occasional 
missionary reports can the seeker after truth gather 
some idea of the dark shadow of fear under which the 
urban population of most provinces now spend their 
lives, hoping against hope for peace in their time. A 
short book* written by the wife of an American busi- 
ness man, for 19 years resident in the interior, supplies 
an eye-witness account of the day-to-day growth of this 
shadow of fear, during the -1927 advance of the 
Nationalist troops, first in Hunan and then in Nanking. 
Mrs. Hobart sees the country and its pitiful plight 
"through the eyes of her merchants, whose' shop doors 
so often in the last years have been close-barred for fear 
of looting by advancing and retreating troops ; through 
the eyes of its lowly common people', whose junks and 

* WitUn the Walls of Nanking. By Mrs. A. T. Hobart. (Cape, 1928.) 

167 ^ 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

sampans I have seen so often looted and commandeered 
under rifle fire; of farmer folk, whom I have seen 
devastated by floods, bandits and soldiers." In her mind, 
ever insistent, is the vision of the defenceless people, 
living continually under this dark shadow of fear fear 
for their lives, for the honour of their women, for the 
loss of all they possess, even to the rice-bowls from 
which they eat. Hers is an unvarnished tale, but the 
unmistakable sincerity of her affection for these poor 
people invests it with dramatic force and deep signific- 
ance. Particularly impressive is her description of the 
effect of the growing shadow upon the servants of her 
own household those pathetically patient, industrious 
and loyal souls "who deserve so much, ask so little, and 
get so much less" and of the gradual disillusion of the 
respectable middle-class, concerning the purposes and 
proceedings of Nationalism. 

As regards works written in English by Chinese 
authors during the past decade, these may be lightly 
dismissed, for, generally speaking, they add but little 
to our learning and merely serve to make confusion 
worse confounded. v Of those which were written in the 
years immediately following the 1 Washington Confer- 
ence, most were intended to promote the political pur- 
poses of the Kuomintang; but since the breach between 
the Cantonese and the Nanking factions, those which 
have had the widest circulation are the work of publicists 
belonging to the Cantonese Left Wing Tang Liang-li^ 
T. C. Woo, and Wang Ching~wei* and may be classed 
as propaganda of the controversial domestic type 1 . Two 

* China in Revolt. By T'ang Liang-li. (Douglas, 1927. Routledge, 
1930.) Inner History of the Chinese Revolution. By T'ang Liang-li. 
(China United Press, 1932.) Wang Ching-wei. By T'ang Liang-li 
The Kuomintang and the Chinese Revolution. By T. C. Woo. (Allen 


China in Recent Literature 

interesting works by scholars faithful to the old tradi- 
tion may, however, be cited viz., Professor Leonard 
Hsu's Political Philosophy of Confucianism (Rout- 
ledge, 1932) gnd Mr. L. T. Chen's translation of Liang 
Ch'i-Ch'ao's History of Chinese Political Thought 
(Kegan Paul, 1930). It was a timely coincidence that 
the publication of the latter coincided with that of Mr. 
T'ang Liang-li's Inner History of the Chinese Revolttr- 
tion, for together they illustrate, in a most instructive 
manner, the results which "Western learning" is apt to 
produce on the Oriental mind^ beneficial or harmful, 
according to the manner of its application. A dis- 
passionate study of these two books will, I think, lead 
most readers to the conclusion that it would have been 
far better for the state of China, if the present genera- 
tion of her ruling class had been educated, like Liang 
Ch'i-ch'ao, in the intellectual faith of their fathers, 
rather than encouraged, like T'ang Liang-li and his 
confreres, to follow after new and strange gods 
overseas. Comparison of Liang's erudite and convinc- 
ing study of the history of Chinese political thought, 
with Mr. Tang's Inner History of the Chinese Revolu- 
tion compels the reflection that the modern Chinese who 
have studied "Western learning" in their own country 
are usually better men and better citizens than those 
who have acquired it abroad j at the same time it raises 
serious doubts as to the moral superiority of our social 
and political systems, as compared with those prescribed 
by the Confucian formulae of national life. As a general 
rule, books published in English by westernised Chinese 

and Unwin, 1928.) China and the Nations. By Wang Ching-wei. 
(Hopkinson, 1927.) The Chinese National Revolution. By Wang Ching- 
wei. (China United Press, 1932.) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

writers, are of a nature to warrant the conclusion that, 
in the process of acquiring abroad the democratic 
principles of the West, Young China habitually sheds 
many of its native virtues, while in the same process its 
instinctive racial prejudices are manifestly increased. 
With the notable exception of Dr. Hu Shih, none of the 
younger generation of China's publicists display any 
sign of that scientific objective attitude of mind, upon 
which the pioneer scholar-reformers of Liang Ch'i- 
Ch'ao's school insist, as essential to the study of political 

In addition to Morse and MacNair's textbook of 
recent history, two valuable works of reference have 
been compiled during the 1 past decade namely, Mr. 
G. W. Keeton's judicially impartial exposition of the 
nature and implications of extra-territoriality in China* 
and Mr. K. S. Latourette's History of Christian 
Missions in China (New York, 1929). The annual 
volumes of the Survey of International Affairs, issued 
by Professor Arnold Toynbee, under the auspices of the 
Royal Institute of International Affairs, provide a use- 
fulj continuous record of events j even if their apprecia- 
tion of those events is apt at times to suggest the influ- 
ence of the pale cast of thought which usually distin- 
guishes the symposia of the Institute of Pacific Rela- 
tions. Mr. C. W. Young's International Relations of 
Mtmchwrw^ has already been mentioned} this excellent 
digest and analysis of treaties, agreements and negotia- 
tions concerning Manchuria, from 1905 to the present 
day, was originally compiled by Professor Young at the 

* The Development of Extra-territoriality in China. By G. W. KeetoiL 
(Longmans, 1928.) 

t The International Relations of Manchuria. By C, W. Young. 
(Cambridge University Press, 1929.) 


China in Recent Literature 

request of the American Council of the Institute of 
Pacific Relations, to serve as a work of reference for 
the Institute Biennial Conference at Tokyo in 1929. It 
supplies a succinct and connected account of events in 
and about China's loosely-held northern dependencies, 
and explains the nature of the conflict between the asser- 
tion by Japan of her special rights and interests, and 
the maintenance of the policy of the "Open Door" in 
this region, to which all concerned pledged themselves 
by the Washington Treaties. Each of Professor Young's 
four periods of Manchurian history brings into clear 
relief the elemental cause of the present-day inter- 
national problem namely, that a nation which cannot 
defend its territories by force of arms, and which can 
be induced, from motives either of expediency or of 
fear^ to sign away its sovereign rights, can only hope 
to enjoy the position of a sovereign State in perpetuity 
by relying upon the altruism, or playing upon the 
rivalries of other, more powerful, nations. Finally, in 
the category of books of reference, should be mentioned 
Mr. F, W. Price's translation of L. T. Chen's edition 
of Sun Yat-sen's San Min Chu I or Three Principles 
of the Peo*ple> published by the China Committee of 
the Institute of Pacific Relations. Things being as they 
are, the translation of this code for the information of 
the outside world was useful indeed, necessary. But 
they deceive themselves, who, like Professor Holcombe, 
take the Modern sage's incomprehensible formulae 
seriously, and declare that the new Government of 
China is founded upon the principles of his political 
philosophy. For it is safe to assert, as Mr. Lattimore 
does, that his weirdly irrational analyses of political, 
social and economic forces have "never affected the 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

political thought of China by any power of reason," and 
that since his death, "his name and his formulae have 
been invoked only for tactical purposes. . . . Elevated 
to the authority of dogma, they have served chiefly to 
stultify original thought in the generation that is now 

Of books written by other than English and Ameri- 
can authors, during the past decade, the number of those 
that have been considered of importance sufficient to 
justify translation, is comparatively small. One of the 
most notable is Mr. M. M. Lowes's translation of 
Sheng Cheng's Ma Mere et Moi from the original 
French, under the title of A Son of Chim.^ The chief 
interest of this autobiographical work lies in the light 
which it throws upon the evolution and character of the 
modern Chinese student, of the class from which,- in 
their thousands, come aspirants to office, fore-doomed 
from the nature of things to unemployment, and there- 
fore to unrest. Apart from the interest of the narra- 
tive, the author's astonishing command of the French 
language and understanding of the nation to whom his 
work is primarily addressed, afford a most instructive 
example of the rapidity with which the Oriental mind 
can adapt itself to the use of new materials and a new 
technique. Another book, similar to this in quality and 
atmosphere, but of a deeper human interest, is the Grass 
Roof$ by Younghill Kang, a Korean scholar (Scribners, 


Amongst other foreign works possessing literary 
interest or distinction may be mentioned Abel Bonnard's 

* From Manchuria, Cradle of Conflict. By Owen Lattimore. (Quoted 
by permission of the publishers, the Macmillan Co.) 

f A Son of China. By Sheng Cheng. (Allen and Unwin, 1930.) 
t Grass Roof. By Younghill Kang. (Scribners, 1931.) 


China in Recent Literature 

In China, translated by Veronica Lucas (Routledge, 
1926)3 originally written in 1921, this is the work of 
a clear-thinking and cultivated mind. Also, in a 
different category, The Soul of China, by Herr Richard 
Wilhelm, translated by J. H. Reece,. with poems by 
Arthur Waley (Cape, 1928). Herr Wilhelm's rever- 
ence for the profundity of China's ancient culture is so 
intense that he has nothing but contempt for the West's 
civilisation of machinery j but his description of his 
association with the "small circle of the elite of China's 
Intellectuals" of the old regime is instructive. Mrs. 
Whale's translation of Andre Malraux's The Con- 
querors (Cape, 1929) supplies an extremely vivid 
account of the character and methods of the handful 
of Moscovite agents who, in 1925, acquired sufficient 
ascendancy over the Cantonese leaders of the Kuomin- 
tang to make the Nationalist movement subservient for 
a time to the purposes of the Third International. Dr. 
Legendre's Modern Chinese. Civilisation, translated by 
Elsie Martin Jones (Cape, 1929), presents a categorical 
indictment of China's Westernised Intelligentsia^ and 
incidentally of the foreign opinion which regards it as 
capable of producing an efficient type of government. 
Dr. Legendre, one-time director of the Imperial School 
of Medicine at Chengtu, writes primarily as an 
anthropologist, after twenty years devoted to study 
of the physical and mental characteristics of the Chinese 
race. Mr. George E. Sokolsky's recently published book, 
The Tinder-box of Asia (Doubleday, Doran & Co.,. 
New York), is the work of a journalist who has an ex- 
tensive, first-hand knowledge of Chinese affairs. Deal- 
ing chiefly with Manchuria, his book contains a great 
deal of interesting and reliable 1 information on con- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

temporary events in the Far East. Finally,, Professor 
Dennery's Foules d'Asie, rendered into English by Mr. 
J. Peile, under the title of Asiafs Teeming Millions 
(Cape, 193 1 )y sets forth the conclusions and impressions 
formed by its author during a tour of the Far East, with 
especial regard to the problems of over-population. 

Two commendable works of reminiscences are 
Through the Dragon's Eyes, by L. C. Arlington 
(Constable, 1931), and Captain W. F. Tyler's Pulling 
Strings in China (Constable, 1929)5 both these authors 
saw active service with the Chinese navy under the 
Monarchy, and have to their credit many years of 
interesting experience in various parts of the country. 
Finally, a book which everyone should read, who desires 
to form an accurate idea of the present-day life of the 
Chinese peasantry, is The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck 
(Methuen, 1931). Nothing better in its way has been 
done than this simple and convincing study of the condi- 
tions under which a Chinese farmer lives, moves, and 
has his being, in a land continually devastated by flood 
and famine and oppressed by tyrannous misrule. 

I have reserved for separate consideration two works 
which, for different reasons, deserve detailed and care- 
ful consideration namely, those published during the 
present year over the signatures of Mr. Owen Lattimore 
and Mr. Lionel Curtis.* No exercise could be more 
useful to the student of Far Eastern affairs than a com- 
parison of these two works, inasmuch as they represent 
respectively, and most typically, the objective and sub- 
jective methods of approaching the Chinese question 
and the fundamental conflict between realism and 

* Manchuria, Cradle of Conflict. By Owen Lattimore. (Macmillan, 
1932.) The Capital Question of China. By Lionel Curtis. (Macmillan, 


China in Recent Literature 

idealism in dealing with it. Mr. Curtis's book., in 
particular ^ may fairly be said to present the whole case 
for the school of political thought which found ex- 
pression in the Washington Treaties and which has since 
clung desperately to its faith in the' policy of patient con- 
ciliation and the dogmas of racial equality and self- 
determination. And since the crux of the Far Eastern 
question still lies in the continued ascendancy of the mis- 
directed idealism of this school of thought, on both sides 
of the Atlantic, it seems desirable to devote to this book 
a scrutiny somewhat more close and critical than one 
might otherwise be disposed to accord to it. I propose, 
therefore, to make it and Mr. Curtis's views on China 
the subject of a separate chapter. 




"The F.O. School saw quite clearly that the Old China was 
dead, that old traditions no longer counted, that all privileges 
which we enjoyed had to be given up, and that further, China 
had now become aware that the Nationalist movement in 
China had become so active and so powerful, that we must 
candidly and frankly recognise that China must have all the 
powers of an independent and self-governing nation." (Mr. 
Ramsay MacDondd in the House of Commons, 8th February, 

IN the preface to his recently-published work The 
Capital Question of China, Mr. Lionel Curtis explains 
that, as the result of his studies and activities as an 
honorary secretary of the Royal Institute of Inter- 
national Affairs, a definite change took place some years 
ago in his outlook on international affairs. "A sense of 
comparative values began to develop in his mind." Ire- 
land, South Africa, India, faded into comparative in- 
significance and he found that "he had come to believe 
that China^ a country in which he had heretofore 1 taken 
no particular interest, presented a problem second in 
importance to no other." The conviction having entered 
his mind "that the next serious threat to the peace of 
the world would come from the state of the Far East," 
he was led to concentrate on the study of this region. 
This study, having no doubt been satisfactorily com- 
pleted in the process of three; visits to the Far East, as 
a Chatham House delegate to the biennial Conferences 

* The first part of this Chapter was published as an article in the 
National Review for August, 1932. 


The "F.O. School of Thought 75 

of the Institute of Pacific Relations, he has now been 
moved to write a book, in order that his fellow country- 
men may be led to share his newly-found knowledge, 
and with it his opinion that the state of China is cc a 
question of major importance, which cannot be further 
neglected without risk to the whole structure of human 
society." Trud, he makes no claim to expert knowledge} 
his book is "merely the result of studies made late in 
life by one seized with a strong conviction that he, in 
common with the mass of his countrymen, had been too 
long in ignoring the state of China." And because he 
foresaw that the opinions expounded in this book were 
bound to be contentious, he thought it advisable, before 
writing it, to vacate his position an as officer of Chatham 
House, "the Institute being precluded by its charter 
from expressing opinions on questions of policy." 

The publication of this 'contentious' matter comes 
opportunely at the present juncture, when the breath- 
ing space afforded by the! Lytton Commission of 
Enquiry has for a while relieved the Western Powers 
and the League from the dilemmas of the Manchuria 
Dispute and other thorny problems of the Far East. 
For although it is not of a nature! to contribute to the 
average citizen's better understanding of Chinese affairs 
(being indeed calculated to increase his bewilderment) 
it should yet serve a useful purpose 5 for it throws no 
little light on the mental processes of the 'F.O. School 
of Thought' with which Mr. Curtis, and through him, 
Chatham House, havd been so closely associated} on the 
opinions of that coterie of political idealists, whose in- 
fluence has been so frequently reflected in Great Britain's 
China policy since the Washington Conference. Mr. 
Curtis, like most dealers in pacifism, is never lacking in 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

the courage of his convictions, and on the present occa- 
sion he expounds them, ex cathedra, with unhesitating 
assurance. Indeed, his book is not so much an exposition 
of the capital question of China, as a passionate vindica- 
tion of the 'liberalising' policy of patient conciliation, 
which first found definite expression in the Washington 
Treaties of 1922, and was most significantly reiterated 
in Sir Austen Chamberlain's 'unilateral 3 memorandum 
of 1 8th December, 1926. Bearing in mind the fact that 
in recent years the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 
has habitually confined his attention to the affairs of 
Europe and America and allowed our China policy to 
be formulated and expressed by the permanent officials 
of the Foreign Office; bearing in mind also the influen- 
tial part which members of the Chatham House coterie 
have admittedly played in inspiring and formulating the 
official opinions, for which first Sir Austen Chamberlain 
and later Mr. Henderson assumed responsibility, Mr. 
Curtis's reiterated defence of the famous 1896 Memor- 
andum, "as the genuine and permanent expression of 
British policy towards China," having behind it "the 
support of all three parties in the Parliament of Great 
Britain," becomes a matter deserving of attention. For 
at the present stage of the Far Eastern problem, when 
thoughtful men on both sides of the Atlantic are becom- 
ing more and more conscious of the futility of the 
Washington policy} when a growing sense of realities 
and humanities is gradually leading public opinion to 
perception of the 1 necessity for some form of helpful 
intervention in China, we should welcome anything 
which helps to explain the peculiar mentality of the 
doctrinaires to whom the inspiration of the Washington 
policy was due, and with whom rests most of the respon- 


The "P.O. School of Thought" 

sibility for the; errors to which British policy has ever 
since been committed. 

The idealism of Mr. Lionel Curtis, as revealed in this 
book, presents a curious resemblance to that of two other 
pedants in politics, the late Mr. President Wilson and 
Dr. Sun Yat-sen. It has the 1 same quality of pontifical 
assurance j the same autocratic finality of opinion, the 
same sublime indifference to unpleasant facts, whenso- 
ever they conflict with his obiter diet; and withal a 
whole-souled belief, like theirs, in the solidity of his 
sand-castles, which verges at times on the naive. Mr. 
Curtis, moreover, makes no secret of his poor opinion 
of the men on the spot be they traders, consular 
officials or journalists and of his contempt for their 
several opinions. Towards the sordid mercantile com- 
munity of the Treaty Ports, he displays the superior 
attitude of the highbrow which Professor Toynbee 
(Director of Studies at Chatham House) has fittingly 
expressed in these lines: 

"You Smyrna weeping London's tears 
You London racked by Smyrna's fears. 
Busy detestable Shanghai, 
Our anchor's up, thank God. Good-bye," 

Coming from the high priests of an Institute, whose 
funds are ultimately dependent to some extent on the 
largesse of financiers and traders, this attitude towards 
the merchant and "the Man in the Club" seems at first 
sight illogical and possibly ill-advised. On the 1 other 
hand, it is intelligible, because Mr. Curtis never allows 
himself to forget that "opinion, as crystallised in the 
Clubs of the Treaty Ports, was openly hostile to the 
policy of their own country" (in other words, to the 
policy inspired by Mr. Curtis and his fellow-Visionaries) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

and that the "unilateral Note of December, 1926, re- 
affirming this policy, was issued as much for the benefit 
of the Man in the Club as for the Foreign Powers, and 
rightly so." In like manner, he scorns the 1 views of 
officials on the spot "whose whole training has been in 
the East" and who, by the nature of this training, are 
incapable of conceiving "that the people of China will 
ever be able! to govern themselves on the lines of a 
commonwealth." Finally, he ascribes the lack of an 
effective public opinion in England and the absence of 
interest on the subject of China, partly to the fact that 
in the field of journalism, "Morrison left no successor," 
so that "public opinion, with no foundations in genuine 
knowledge is, in the present crisis, blown this way and 
that, by Press correspondents, ignorant" (as Dr. Mor- 
rison was) "of the language of the country, whose' 
messages too often reflect little more than conversation 
in Clubs." 

Mr. Curtis is prepared to admit that in the opinion of 
the men on the spot, and notably of the Consular service, 
the present disorders are likely to continue indefinitely} 
also he admits that if, as these experienced officials think, 
China is not capable of emerging from anarchy within 
any period worth considering for practical purposes,, it 
must follow that "the policy officially accepted at Wash- 
ington is a house founded on sand." Moreover, he 
recognises many of the unpleasant facts of the existing 
situation, e.g., the Chinese Government's inability to 
control its own officials, to maintain order or observe 
Treaty engagements j the difficulty of introducing any 
remedial measures in the absence of any govern- 
ment which can govern j the incapacity to subordin- 
ate private interests to those of any group larger 

1 80 

The F.O. School of Thought" 

than the family $ and so on. But when it comes to deal- 
ing with the fact that the Nationalist movement has 
rendered the Washington policy abortive, by its failure 
to establish a government competent to execute as well 
as to negotiate Treaties, it was not to be expected that 
any leader of the! C F.O. School of Thought 3 should 
attribute the existing chaos to its own 'adventures in 
Liberalism' and blind devotion to the dogmas of racial 
equality and self-determination. It is in the nature of 
things that Mr. Curtis should prove to his own satisfac- 
tion that, as usual, it is not China, but England, that is 
to blame. Firstly, with that naivety to which I have 
already referred, he observes that "we are apt to forget 
that her present condition is directly due to our own 
insistence on trading with her." Secondly, he avers that 
if Chiang K'ai-shek and T. V. Soong^ 'unquestionably 
the ablest leaders in China/ failed to establish a com- 
petent administration when 'there 1 was real hope of it, 3 
after the Powers had recognised the Nationalist Govern- 
ment in 1928, the blame for their failure must rest with 
these Powers, inasmuch as they refused to transfer their 
Legations from Peking to Nanking. 

Like Sir Frederick Whyte (another prominent 
member of the Chatham House coterie, who, under its 
auspices, was sent out to introduce the 'personal factor' 
at Nanking, and who now holds the position of political 
adviser to the Nationalist Government) Mr. Curtis 
clings firmly to the faith, that the strength of the 
Nationalist Government in Canton "lay in the feeling 
created by its founder that it stood for the people of 
China," and furthermore, that the' real issue at stake 
between it and the northern 'adventurers/ was "whether 
China should revert to the' old dynastic system or de- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

velop on European and American lines." Immovable 
in this faith, blinded by this hypothesis, he persists in the 
belief that "in the Nationalist Government recognised 
by the Powers in 1928, there was real promise" and con- 
tinually asserts that the fulfilment of this promise was 
chiefly frustrated by the failure of the Powers to move 
their Legations to Nanking. Herein the mentality of 
the doctrinaire idealist asserts itself most characteristic- 
ally. It is difficult to understand how anyone with even 
a slight knowledge of Chinese history can persuade him- 
self that "the mere presence of the Foreign Powers in 
the persons of their Foreign Ministers at Nanking, 
would have gone far to strengthen the Nationalist 
Government's prestige and discouraged the Tuchuns 
from attacking it," or that "the constant presence in 
Nanking of specially selected Ministers (of the type of 
Lord Elgin or Mr. Dwight Morrow) would have 
changed the atmosphere of Nanking and have helped it 
to pass from medieval to modern ideas." But to the 
true believer in self-determination, such miracles are 
wholly credible and Mr. Curtis has no difficulty in de- 
daring them to be not only possible 1 but probable. In 
arriving at these and similar conclusions, he is com- 
pelled to ignore facts of capital importance, which no 
serious student could overlook} for example, the fact 
that the centre of gravity of the most truly Chinese 
policies has always lain in the North, and that the idea 
of the northern and central provinces uniting in accept- 
ance of a government controlled by the Cantonese, is 
manifestly and utterly impossible, as a matter of prac- 
tical politics. Similarly, he ignores the fact that the 
'promising* Southern Nationalist leaders of 1928 (in 
whom Sir Frederick Whyte also discerned c a cause 


The "P.O. School of Thought" 

greater than themselves' and 'the only hope 5 for China) , 
have actually achieved amongst their own countrymen, a 
reputation for cynical self-seeking, more conspicuous 
than that of any of the 1 groups of adventurers that have 
risen to power since the overthrow of the Monarchy. 

One delusion, originally a fundamental article of 
faith with the <F.O. School of Thought/ Mr. Curtis 
now seems disposed to abandon, namely, that the politi- 
cal aspirations of the Southern Nationalists reflect a 
definite awakening of the Chinese masses to a rigorous 
national consciousness. He still believes implicitly in the 
inevitable 'westernisation 3 of China and in the capacity 
of the nation to achieve 'self-government under free 
institutions'; at thef same time, curiously enough, he 
now holds that, in countries like Russia, India and China, 
it is not the masses that matter; "the mere handful 
of educated people who are breaking away from the 
past, are the vital and dominating factor," When one 1 
remembers that opinions such as these, have held the 
field and dominated Anglo-American policy in China 
for the past decade^ and when one compares Mr. Curtis's 
book with the works of serious and scientific students of 
Chinese affairs, such as Mr. H. B. Morse or Mr. Owen 
Lattimore, one is compelled to the melancholy reflec- 
tion that sentiment still counts for more than science in 
human affairs. Mr. Curtis has hitched his wagon to the 
star of semi-westernised Canton and looks to its hand- 
ful of youthful iconoclasts for the salvation of China, 
apparently unconscious of the simple truth, that even 
the most progressive and modern of China's Intel- 
lectuals retain, undiminished, their distrust and deep 
dislike of the foreigner and their pride in the superiority 
of China's civilisaton. Mr. Lattimore is undoubtedly 

183 N 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

right when he says that China's modern Intellectuals 
are as much concerned with the possibilities of decay 
and collapse in the western civilisation, as they are with 
the advisability of adopting western standards in China. 

It is, however, in his conclusion of the whole matter, 
in the panacea which he finally proposes for the healing 
of China, that Mr. Curtis displays the fine flower of the 
closet-philosopher mind, fixed with childlike intensity 
on its own ideas. Starting from the question as to what 
can be done by Great Britain to help China, and with the 
characteristic premiss, that "we shall fail in all our deal- 
ings with her until we recognise that our interests are 
misconceived whenever they seem to conflict with hers/' 
he observes that the people of Engla.nd cannot know 
how they "should act in respect of China, until they 
have recognised the magnitude; of the issues at stake and 
adopted the course successfully followed in other fields 
of similar importance." Following this course, they 
must send to the capital of China, as their Minister, a 
public man of wide political experience, one of the stamp 
of Durham, Cromer, Milner or Irwin, "whose estimates 
of the facts, and whose methods of handling these facts 
will, when explained by himself in reports and des- 
patches, convince not merely the Secretary of State and 
the Cabinet, but Parliament also and the public opinion 
it represents." Mr. Curtis is also quite convinced^ that 
"if England once adopted the practice of sending to 
China Ministers drawn from the first rank of public 
life, the Americans and Japanese would follow suit/ 7 

Thus, under the guidance of these diplomatic super- 
men (carefully selected, no doubt, to represent the "F.CX 
School of Thought") public opinion all over the world 
would soon be led to see the China problem with com- 


The "P.O. School of Thought" 

plete unanimity; to see it clearly and to see it whole. 
As to what should be done with and about China her- 
self , during the unspecified period of this educative pro- 
cess, or during such lapses of unanimity as might occur 
in spite of it, Mr. Curtis is silent, nor does he explain 
the nature of the process by which the conflicting 
elements in China itself are to be made to accept the 
solutions vouchsafed by the c men of sufficient authority 5 
on the spot. 

In conclusion, since Mr. Curtis has invoked the names 
of Cromer and Milner, as typical of the supermen re- 
quired, I (being only human) cannot refrain from quot- 
ing the following passage from an article written by 
Lord Cromer for the Nineteenth Century, in May 1913* 
when reviewing a book which I had published the year 
before. "We English," he wrote, "are largely respon- 
sible for creating the frame of mind, which is even now 
luring Young Turks, Chinamen and other Easterns into 
the political wilderness by the display of false signals. 
We have, indeed, our Elands in China, our Milners in 
Egypt, our Miss Durhams in the Balkan Peninsula, and 
our Miss Bells in Mesopotamia, who wander far afield, 
gleaning valuable facts and laying before their country- 
men conclusions based on acquired knowledge and wide 
experience. But their efforts are only partially success- 
ful. They are often shivered on the solid rock of pre- 
conceived prejudice and genuine but ill-formed senti- 

It is fairly safe to assert that if Lord Cromer were 
alive to-day, and in a position of authority at Nanking,, 
his general policy would follow the lines prescribed long 
ago by Sir George Staunton, a profoundly wise observer, 
who, at the outset of England's direct relations with 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

China recognised the essential differences between their 
type of civilisation and that of Western nations,, and 
declared that the only hope of gaining the confidence 
of the Chinese lay in "the firm adherence to principle 
which distinguishes the British character." Certain it is 
that Lord Cromer would have definitely eschewed a 
line of policy which begins by assuming that British 
interests must be misconceived, if they seem to conflict 
with those of this or that group of predatory ad- 

As already observed, Mr. Curtis's study of China on 
the spot was carried out during his tours in the Far East, 
as a delegate of Chatham House to three biennial confer- 
ences of the Institute of Pacific Relations. The first 
of these was held at Honolulu in 1927, the second at 
Kyoto in 1929, and the last at Shanghai in October, 
1931. In theory, the chartered activities of the Royal 
Institute of International Affairs are restricted to those 
of a strictly non-political body, organised for the scien- 
tific study of international questions, and their im- 
partial discussion by means of lectures, books, reports, 
etc. Its membership, Presidents and Council are repre- 
sentative of every shade of political opinion} its 
honorary Presidents include the Prime Ministers of 
Great Britain and the Dominions. But, in practice, the 
manner in which this study of international questions is 
pursued, the selection of subjects for discussion and of 
speakers to present them, and the nature of its relations 
with other irresponsible but influential bodies? such as 
the Institute of Pacific Relations, are matters dependent 
on, and determined by, the dominant mentality and 
initiative of the Institute's secretarial and executive 
officials. It is not my present purpose to discuss its activi- 


The "P.O. School of Thought" 

ties in any field of international affairs other than those 
of China j as regards these, however, it is, I think, incon- 
testably and demonstrably true that, from 1926 on- 
wards, they have continually reflected the influence of 
those political ideas, with which the T.O. school of 
thought' is identified, and that they have been con- 
ducted in an atmosphere siddi'ed o'er with the pale cast 
of highbrow internationalism. The fact, indeed, scarcely 
requires demonstration^ an Institute whose initiative of 
organisation and media of expression are primarily in 
the hands of Mr. Lionel Curtis, Professor Arnold 
Toynbee and Commander Stephen King-Hall, may be 
trusted to approach and treat most international ques- 
tions in a spirit of forward-looking Liberalism.' As re- 
gards China, Chatham House has undoubtedly provided 
a spiritual home and rallying ground for the group of 
political visionaries who have inspired and upheld the 
unfortunate policy of patient conciliation and graceful 
surrenders, who have encouraged Young China's denun- 
ciation of the unequal Treaties, and other similar mani- 
festations of vigorous nationalism, while sternly 
deprecating any insistence on national interests by their 
countrymen at the Treaty Ports. The active interest 
displayed in Far Eastern affairs by deputations of 
Chatham House delegates, at the Conferences of the 
Institute of Pacific Relations, was undeniably mis- 
chievous, in so far as it helped to create in the minds 
of the party leaders in China false ideas with regard 
to the active sympathy and support which they might 
expe'ct to receive from England and America in their 
differences with Japan. 

In theory, of course, these Chatham House excursions 
to the Far East were purely intellectual joy-rides, de- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

void of all political significance; on the other hand, it 
was manifestly impossible to prevent political conse- 
quences arising out of Conferences^ conducted in the 
full glare of publicity, at which delegates, ostensibly 
representing all phases of British public opinion, met to 
discuss, with American and other delegates, vexed ques- 
tions such as the abolition of extraterritoriality and the 
unequal Treaties, or the position of Japan's legal rights 
in Manchuria. The general tendency of the views 
which these delegates might be expected to express, as 
representative of British opinion, may be gathered by 
the initiated from the following lists of their members. 

Honolulu Conference, 

Kyoto Conference, 

Shanghai Conference, 

Sir Frederick Whyte, 

Lord Hailsham, 

Professor Adams. 



Dr. C. H. Chatley, 

Mr MalcolmMacdonald 

Hon. Mrs. Alfred 

Mr. C. I. Cooks. 

Hon.W. W. Astor, 


Mr. W. C. Costin. 

Joint Secretaries. 

Mr. Lionel Curtis. 

Dame Rachel Crowdy. 

Viscount Castlereagh. 

Professor Toynbee. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lionel 

Mr. Lionel Curtis. 

Hon. H. A. Wyndham. 


Professor Hinton. 

Canon Streeter. 

Mr. F. A. Frith. 

Mr. Henry T. Hodgkin. 

Professor Webster. 

Mr. E. W. Grey. 

Mrs. Henry T. Hodg- 

Miss Eileen Power. 

Mr. G. E. Hubbard, 


Mr. S. K. Datta. 

Sir Reginald Johnston 

Miss M.T. Hunter. 

Mr. G. R Hudson. 

Mr. John Keswick. 


Mr, Malcolm Mac- 

Mr. Archibald Rose. 

Mrs. Macgregor Mills. 


Professor Roxby, 

Professor Webster. 

Mr. George Sale. 

Mr. Colin Scott. 

Mrs. Webster. 

Mr. ArcMbald Rose, 

The Hon. W. E. 

Hon. H. A. Wyndham. 

Mr. W. Turner. 


Mr. Hardy Jowett. 

Mr. N. L. Sparke. 

With the best of intentions it was impossible, in 
practice (as the Press of the Far East bor witness at 
the time) to prevent the Institute becoming to some 
extent identified in the public mind with the very 
decided opinions, voiced by individual delegates on 
highly controversial subjects, and with policies that 
were often diametrically opposed to those *men on the 
spot,' whose views Mr. Curtis has dismissed with such 


The "F.O. School of Thought" 

undisguised contempt. The great majority o the 
Institute's delegates were exponents of the C F.O. school 
of thought/ of its ideals of internationalism and self- 
determination. The effect, upon their impressionable 
minds, of contacts established, in a,n unfamiliar Eastern 
atmosphere, with some of the most astute members of 
Young China's Intelligentsia^ was not conducive to 
sound judgment upon questions requiring accurate 
knowledge and judicial detachment. Finally, the 
publicity given to their deliberations and the opinions 
freely expressed by the delegates as to the far-reaching 
importance of these Conferences, as factors in the 
ultimate! adjustment of the problems discussed, were 
results which cannot well be reconcilable with the theory 
of an organisation devoted to purely academic and 
educative research. 

One of the most conspicuous instances, illustrative of 
the manner in which the! ill-informed sentimentalism of 
a coterie of doctrinaires has influenced the British 
Government's China, policy since the Washington Con- 
ference, was that which occurred when Sir Austen 
Chamberlain was called upon to explain and defend the 
surrender of the Hankow Concession to mob violence. 
It will be remembered that in the House of Commons 
he then voiced the pious hope 1 that "our friendly policy 
will presently evoke an equally friendly response from a 
Chinese Government, freed from foreign domination 
and thus enabled to devote itself to the single-minded 
service of the Chinese." There spoke the very soul of 
self-determination, fortified by self-delusion. But public 
opinion, trusting in its oracles, was fain to hope for the 
be'sty and to accept at their face value assurances which 
were manifestly absurd. 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

Another instance, which throws an even more instruc- 
tive light upon the mentality of your song-fur inter- 
nationalists, occurred in October, 1930, when Mr. 
Arthur Henderson, speaking as Foreign Secretary on the 
occasion of the first annual dinner at Chatham House, 
commented at some length upon the relations between 
Great Britain and "the great peoples of the Eastern 
Hemisphere." In the course of his remarks on the sub- 
ject of China, he declared himself an ardent believer 
in the determination of the Chinese to westernise their 
country, and in the progress which they have made 
towards this end. After the Boxer rebellion, he said, 
"the current of nationalism was diverted from reaction 
into the path of progress. China proceeded to trans- 
form herself. . * . The new era was marked in 1911 
by the overthrow of the old monarchy, and its replace- 
ment by a modern and up-to-date republic, at any rate 
in theory. There is ample evidence to prove that this 
change was not a change of name but a change in fact" 
and so on. Needless to say opinions of this kind, when 
expressed by Secretaries of State on public occasions,: are 
purely political in their origin. No one would suggest, 
either in Mr. Henderson's case or that of Sir Austen 
Chamberlain, that their views about China represent 
personal conviction based on serious study. To use a 
motoring simile^ the F.O. machine may toot with the 
horn of Henderson, but the motive spirit, in this case, 
is Pratt's. 

Conforming to that spirit, Mr. Henderson, after thus 
testifying to present-day China's progressive tendencies, 
was prompted to assert that when she responded to the 
call of the Allies in 1917 and declared war against 
Germany and Austria, she received in return a promise 


The "RO. School of Thought" 

"that on the termination of the war, she would be 
accorded in international relations the position and the 
consideration due to a great country. The promise was 
given unhesitatingly, etc., etc." 

Being in a position to know that no undertaking in 
these terms was authorised at the time by H.M. Govern- 
ment and considering the matter to be one of consider- 
able importance, I applied to the Secretary of State, 
enquiring as to the conditions under which the alleged 
promise had been made. The following correspondence 
then passed: 

"Foreign Office, S.W. i. 

"20th October. 1930. 
"Dear Sir, 

"In reply to your letter of the I4th October on the subject 
of the promise made to China on her entry into the war, the 
correspondence of I4th August, 1917, between the Chinese 
Government and the Ministers of the Allied Powers, which 
contains the information you are seeking, is published in 
MacMurray's Treaties and Agreements with and concerning 
China Vol. II, page 1,362. This is a well-known work of 
reference which you will doubtless have no difficulty in con- 

"Yours very truly, 

"N. B. RONALD." 
"J. 0. P. Bland, Esq. 

"Foreign Office, S.W. i. 

"2jrd October, 1930. 
"Dear Sir, 

"With reference to our conversation on the telephone this 
morning, I find that, through a regrettable slif} in copying, 
the reference to the page in MacMurray's Treaties was given 
as 1,362, whereas it ought to have been 1,363. In the second 
official document quoted on the latter page you will find the 
passage: It' (i.e. 3 the Government on whose behalf the Lega- 
tion were writing) 'will do all that depends upon It in order 
that China may have the benefit in her international relations 
of the situation and the regards due to a great country.' 
"If you are still in any doubt, perhaps the simplest thing 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

to do would be for you to telephone to Sir John Pratt the 
next time you happen to be in London. 

"Yours very truly, 

"N. B. RONALD." 
"J. 0. P. Bland, Esq." 

"Brudenell House, 

"2nd November, 1930. 

"Dear Sir, 

"I have to acknowledge with thanks your letter of 23rd 
October, in which, replying to mine of the I4th, you quote 
from MacMurray's Treaties, the correspondence of I4th 
August, 1917, between the Chinese Government and the 
Ministers of the Allied Powers at Peking, with reference to 
the promise made to China by the Powers on her entry into 
the war. 

"At the interview which you were good enough to give me 
on Thursday last, and in my subsequent conversation with 
Sir John Pratt, I suggested that the terms of the identic 
Note addressed by the Ministers of the Allied Powers to the 
Chinese Government on the date in question, were not such 
as to justify the wider interpretation placed upon them by 
the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on the occasion of 
the first annual dinner at Chatham House; furthermore, that 
when this identic Note was written, no such promise as that 
described by Mr. Henderson had ever been suggested or dis- 
cussed in the protracted negotiations which took place from 
April to August, 1917, between the Chinese Government and 
the Allied Ministers at Peking. 

"As regards the assurance contained in the identic Note, 
that H.M. Government would 'do all that depends upon it in 
order that China may have the benefit in her international 
relations of the situation and the regards due to a great 
country/ I ventured ^to observe that this assurance referred 
solely to the economic and financial advantages, which were 
all that the Allied Powers had proposed, and all that Tuan 
Chi-jui's government had asked, as inducements for China 
to throw in her lot with the Allies. At no time during the 
negotiations to this end was there any mention on either 
side of a 'promise' that, 'on the termination of the war, China 
would be accprded^in her international relations the position 
and the consideration due to a great country/ The specific 
advantages offered to China by the Powers in May and June, 
1917, in return for her declaring war against Germany, con- 
tain no reference to any such promise and it is, I think ? 


The "P.O. School of Thought" 

reasonable to assume that, had it been made, the Chinese 
Government's representatives at Versailles, would not have 
failed to place it in the forefront of their objections to the 
settlement of the Shantung question agreed to by the Powers. 
"In conclusion, and with all due respect, may I observe 
that, no matter what opinions may now be held as to the 
intention and scope of the assurance conveyed by the identic 
Note in question, recognition of China's claim to the position 
and consideration due to a great country must eventually 
depend, not upon such qualified assurances, but upon the 
proved ability and intention of her present rulers to ad- 
minister her national affairs and international relations as 
befits a great country, and that, so long as her Government 
fails to afford security for life and property and to fulfil her 
recent Treaty obligations, it would appear to be inex- 
pedient to widen the scope of the assurance in question be- 
yond anything which has hitherto been ascribed to it, and 
thus afford ground for further claims on the part of the 
Nationalist Government of China at a time of serious diffi- 
culty and danger to British interests in the Far East. 

"Yours very truly, 

"J. O. P. BLAND." 
"N. B. Ronald, Esq." 

"Foreign Office, S.W. i. 

7th November, 1930. 
"Dear Sir, 

"I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 2nd 
November, in which you refer again to the speech of the 
Secretary of State at the first annual dinner of the Royal 
Institute of International Affairs. 

"I am not aware of 'your authority for the statement that 
at no time during the negotiations leading, up to China's 
declaration of war upon Germany was there any mention of 
a promise that China would have the benefit of the position 
and the consideration due to a great country. The statement 
is, however, contrary to fact. The question of China's stand- 
ing in the family of nations was one to which the Chinese 
Government attached considerable importance. Discussions 
on the subject took place at an early stage of the negotiations 
and the promise which was eventually agreed should be made 
to China was embodied in the last paragraph of the Note of 
the Ministers of the Allied Powers of I4th August, 1917. 
This paragraph is not capable of any other Interpretation 
than that put upon it by the Secretary of State in the passage 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

of his speech to which you draw attention in your former 
letter on this subject. Any attempt to argue that it referred 
solely to economic and financial advantages, the negotia- 
tions in regard to which were only carried to a successful 
conclusion some considerable time after China's declaration 
of war upon Germany and Austria (see, for example, 
MacMurray, page 1,375), could only expose His Majesty's 
Government to the charge^ of denying the existence of a . 
promise which it was found inconvenient to fulfil. 

"The actual text of the Note from His Majesty's Charge 
d'Affaires to the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs of 
I4th August, 1917, will be found at page 19 of Official Docu- 
ments relating to the War (for the Year 1917),, published by 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peking, China. The last 
paragraph of the Note is as follows: 

" 1 have the honour to state, for the information of the 
Chinese Government, that His Britannic Majesty's Govern- 
ment have pleasure in assuring them of the solidarity of 
their friendship, and of their support. His Majesty's Govern- 
ment will do all that rests with then^to ensure that China 
shall enjoy in her international relations the position and 
the regard due to a great country.' 

"The text of this paragraph was agreed upon by the 
Ministers of the Allied Powers who all embodied it in their 
replies. The slightly different version of the paragraph that 
is published in MacMurray, page 1,363, would appear to be 
a translation back into English from some foreign language 
probably French. The sense of the two versions is, how- 
ever, obviously the same and is not open to dispute. 

"In these circumstances the considerations put forward 
in the last paragraph of your letter under reply do not appear 
to arise. They are, in any case, incompatible with the carry- 
ing out of the policy of His Majesty's Government towards 
China which, as the Secretary of State indicated in a sub- 
sequent passage in his speech, is the policy set out in the 
Memorandum of i8th December, 1926. 

"Yours very truly. 

"N. B. RONALD." 
"J. 0. P. Bland, Esq." 

"Brudenell House, 

"nth November, 1930. 
"Dear Sir, 

"I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the yth 


The "RO. School of Thought" 

inst., in reply to mine of the 2nd, having reference to the 
speech of the Secretary of State at the first annual dinner 
of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. 

"It was not my intention to question the fact that an identic 
Note was sent by the Ministers of the Allied Powers to the 
Chinese Government at the date of the latter's declaration 
of war upon Germany, and that it contained an assurance 
in the terms quoted in your letter of the 23rd October. My 
purpose was to draw attention to the fact that the nature of 
this assurance and the conditions under which it was given, 
were not such as to justify the much wider significance given 
to it by the Secretary of State (particularly by the addition 
of the words 'after the war') as a formal promise and a 
declaration of high policy on the part of H.M. Government 
and the Allied Powers. 

"As regards the statement contained in your letter under 
reply, that discussions on the subject of this 'promise' took 
place at an early stage of the negotiations, I may observe 
that, during the whole period of these negotiations^ I was 
serving as a member of the secretarial staff of the War 
Cabinet, my duty being to make a weekly digest of all 
diplomatic telegrams received and despatched. I was there- 
fore in a position to observe very closely the course of these 
negotiations with China and I have no hesitation in saying 
that no such promise as that described by the Secretary of 
State was ever asked for by the Chinese Government 
amongst the advantages and benefits claimed In return for 
declaring war upon Germany, nor was it included amongst 
the specific terms offered during the negotiations by H.M. 
Government. I may add, from personal knowledge of the 
policy pursued by Tuan Chi-jui and his colleagues, that 
'China's standing in the family of nations' was at no time 
in evidence as a question which greatly concerned them dur- 
ing the whole course of these negotiations. In support of 
this aspect of the case, I submit for your consideration the 
fact that no reference to this categorical promise is to be 
found in any Blue Book or official history of the war; and 
furthermore, that the fact that the authority now found for 
it, would appear to be based solely upon the unverifiable 
text of an inaccessible Chinese document, affords in itself 
good ground for the contention that, whatever may have 
been the origin and intention of the assurance conveyed 
in the Allied Ministers' Note of the I4th August, 1917, it 
cannot, without further evidence, he held to cover the ex- 
tended sense attached to it by the_ Secretary of State. Nor 
can it afford retrospective justification for the policy set out 


CHINA: The Pity o It 

in the Memorandum of i8th December, 1926, the wisdom 
of which remains open to serious question. 

"Yours very truly, 

"J. 0. P. BLAND." 
"N. B. Ronald, Esq." 

"Foreign Office, S.W. I. 
"i8th November, 1930. 

"Dear Sir, 

"I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 
nth November in regard to the interpretation of the identic 
Note addressed by the Ministers of the Allied Powers to the 
Chinese Government of I4th August,; 1917, and expressing 
doubts as to the wisdom of the policy of i8th December, 

"The correspondence has been submitted to the^Secretary 
of State who has nothing to add to the information which 
has been furnished to you in earlier letters from this Depart- 
ment, although he takes note of your view, both as regards 
the interpretation of the Note and the policy embodied in 
the Memorandum communicated to the Chinese Government 
in December, 1926. 

"Yours very truly, 

"N. B. RONALD." 
J. 0. P. Bland, Esq." 

The reader will observe how in this correspondence, 
as in Mr. Curtis's book, stress is laid upon the immut- 
able finality of the sacrosanct Memorandum of 1 8th 
December, 1926, that high water-mark of the tide of 
misguided idealism which began to flow in 1921. Six 
months before these letters passed, there being good 
reason for anticipating disastrous adventures in Liberal- 
ism as the result of Mr. Curtis's suddenly developed 
interest in Chinese! affairs, I took occasion in the English 
Review to trace the origin and nature of the influences 
which, under three administrations, had determined the 
course of British policy in the Far East. The 1 following 
extract from the article in question deals particularly 
with the part played by the Chatham House coterie in 


The "KO. School of Thought" 

the inspiration and guidance of the <F.O. school of 
thought 3 : 

"Those who have studied the causes of the steady deteri- 
oration of our position and prestige in China, are aware 
that the policy of patient conciliation pursued by successive 
Governments in recent years has been to a great extent in- 
spired, and often initiated by certain political idealists 
whose opinions have carried far more weight in Downing 
Street than those of the British communities in the Far 
East. As matters stand to-day, it is not surprising that the 
Government, largely composed of men without personal 
experience of Oriental races, should follow the facile path 
of graceful concessions^ in view of the fact that their line of 
action, or inaction, is usually based upon the opinions 
of the T.O. school of thought,' whereof the fountain head is 
Chatham House. To put the matter plainly with Sir 
Frederick Whyte as adviser to the Government at Nanking, 
and Sir John Pratt as the chief authority on China at the 
F.O.; with that indefatigable and persuasive pacificator, 
Mr. Lionel Curtis, now directing his attention to Chinese 
affairs; and all the liberalising' influence of inveterate 
theorists, such as Sir Charles Addis and Professor Toynbee, 
in the background a policy of lamentable surrenders was 
inevitable. The personnel of the delegation selected by 
Chatham House to represent Great Britain at the Kyoto 
Conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations, in itself 
sufficiently indicates the opinions now fashionable in the 
highest circles of academic politics. All things considered, 
therefore, the British merchant in China (whom the 'high- 
brows' regard as an unfortunate anachronism) should per- 
haps be grateful that Mr. Ramsay MacDonald has not yet 
seen fit to withdraw all our armed forces from Shanghai. As 
regards the immediate future, remembering Mr. Curtis's not- 
able contributions to the cause of 'dyarchy' in India and that 
of Dominion Home Rule in Ireland, it may fairly be pre- 
dicted that the result of his present activities will be mani- 
fested in further concessions or compromises, all theoretically 
unimpeachable, but all in practice disastrous, for the reason 
that they will fail, as usual, to take into account the real 
objectives and the 'dominant morality' of the Oriental 
politicians with whom he is dealing." 




"The success of the Kuomintang party ^may perhaps be 
attributed to the fact that they, more consistently than any 
other party in China, have denounced the Western servitude 
imposed on their country." (Mr. Arthur Henderson, Minis- 
ter for Foreign Affairs, at Chatham House annual dinner, 
September, 1930.) 

IN an earlier chapter I had occasion to refer to the 
measures adopted by the Southern Nationalist Govern- 
ment at Nanking to prevent the publication or circula- 
tion by foreigners of historical works, and even of news- 
papers, which contained any unfavourable criticism of 
its methods or proceedings, I did not attempt to describe 
the crushing restrictions placed upon the liberty of the 
vernacular Press, or the vindictive and illegal penalties 
(including summary execution) frequently inflicted upon 
offending editors} the truth is sufficiently well known, 
that the liberty which the Press expected to enjoy, 
after the unification of the country by Chiang K?ai~ 
shek's party in 1928, has been drastically curtailed, 
if not completely abolished, under the Kuomintang 
dispensation. In September, 1929, in order to counter- 
act the unfavourable impression created abroad by its 
declaration of postal bans against four foreign news- 
papers, and by the "social ban" imposed on certain 
American journalists of good standing, the Central 
Executive Committee at Nanking published an official 
notice stating that "the principle of absolute freedom 
of the Press will be observed." As, however, it was 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 

stipulated in the same document that "no newspapers, 
periodicals or news-agencies will be allowed to carry on 
reactionary propaganda, or maliciously to attack the 
Central Government," the native Press found in it no 
occasion for premature rejoicing. A subsequent order 
gave notice that all criticisms or comments on political 
questions must be submitted, before publication, to the 
central authority at Nanking; and in connection with 
this order Hu Han-min, one of the chief stalwarts of 
the Cantonese party, publicly declared that, in his 
opinion, anyone "who joins the Kuomintang party, 
voluntarily consents to the limitation of his freedom of 
speech." There is no information available as to the 
number of Chinese newspapers which have been denied 
the use of the mails, suspended^ or confiscated since that 
date, but an account of the methods and results of the 
rigorous censorship exercised by Nanking has lately been 
published in the 1 People's Tnbwte) a monthly journal, 
edited by T'ang Liang4i at Shanghai.* There can be 
no doubt that the autocratic ruthlessness of the Kuomin- 
tang leaders, in restricting public opinion to the expres- 
sion of their own views, is responsible for many of the 
discontents and differences within the party, and 
especially for the indignant outbursts of the Young 
China element. Some idea of the Government's con- 
ception of the functions and freedom of the Press may 
be gathered from the text of the Publications Law, 
passed by the Legislative in November, 1930^ contain- 
ing 44 articles; one of these requires that all publica- 
tions shall register, not only with the Nanking authori- 
ties, but with the Kuomintang local party headquarters, 

* "The Futility of tlie Press Censorship," article in The People's 
Tribune. (May, 1931-) 

199 o 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

the penalty for non-registration being very severe. In 
addition to the local censorships established by these 
c Tang Pu,> there is an "Emergency Law governing 
Treason and Sedition/ 3 promulgated in February, 1931, 
which takes precedence over the ordinary Criminal 
Code. Amongst other drastic provisions of this law it 
is ordained that "whosoever engages in seditious propa- 
ganda by means of writings, pictures, or word of mouth, 
with intent to subvert the Republic, shall be punished 
with death or imprisonment for life." And again, "who- 
soever^ with intent to subvert the Republic, organises 
associations or meetings, or propagates doctrines incom- 
patible with the 'Three People's Principles,' shall be 
punished with imprisonment for a term of between five 
and fifteen years." 

Having thus successfully contrived an effective 
supp-essic* veri, at the sources to which the outside world 
had heretofore looked for information in regard to 
things Chinese, the Kuomintang Executive proceeded 
to organise elaborate machinery, in partibus mfidetium y 
for purposes of propaganda, in which there figured 
continually a suggestio falsi, calculated to create the im- 
pression of a unified and stable government, actively 
engaged in progressive measures of national reconstruc- 
tion. At the beginning of 1930, the Central Political 
Coundl at Nanking issued instructions for the immediate 
establishment of an International Propaganda Bureau, 
to work in conjunction with an international news 
service, with offices in Shanghai, London and New 
York. The ostensible object of this Bureau was to 
counteract 'reactionary 5 opinions, but its real pur- 
pose was speedily manifested in the distribution of 
propaganda calculated to mislead public opinion abroad 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 

concerning the real conditions of the country and to 
maintain the illusion of a new China, triumphantly 
advancing upon the path of progress and therefore 
entitled to claim the immediate cancellation of the 
"Unequal Treaties" and the position of a great Power. 
Shortly before the establishment of this Bureau, the 
Minister of Finance had declared that the country was 
now sufficiently unified and stabilised to justify a large 
scale investment of foreign capital in Chinese industrial 
enterprise} the Minister of Railways had issued a rail- 
way reconstruction programme involving an expendi- 
ture of 500 millions of dollars per annum for 50 
yearsj the Minister of Communications had solemnly 
announced a "General Plan" of communication services 
(telephones, radio stations, air fleets, inland naviga- 
tion, etc.) involving enormous expenditure} while the 
Central Executive proclaimed its intention of proceed- 
ing at once with an "enlightened scheme for the housing 
and relief of the poor." The Chinese themselves 
(familiar with the face-making tradition, by virtue of 
which Chinese administrators are wont to assume that a 
purpose h^s been achieved when the regulations con- 
derning it have been officially proclaimed) were never 
under any delusions with regard to these fantastic pro- 
grammes, but they served their purpose in convincing 
a large body of sentimental opinion abroad, which was 
only too ready to be convinced, that the Government 
of New China, under the direction of its Westernised 
Intelligentsia, was rapidly reaching a condition of 
efficient administration and orderly civilisation. The 
delusions thus created were continually strengthened by 
China's diplomatic representatives abroad, several of 
whom did not scruple to describe the' condition of affairs 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

in China and the course of events in public utterances 
of unblushing mendacity. Indeed, the general tenor 
of their public utterances was such as to create the im- 
pression that, under Kuomintang rule, China was fast 
becoming an earthly paradise, to be thrown open to the 
world so soon as the Powers were prepared to facilitate 
matters by abolishing the 'Unequal Treaties.' The 
measure of the Nationalist Government's adroit 
diplomacy, and of its success in exploiting the ill- 
informed sentimentalism which has been so prevalent 
in the United States and Great Britain since 1 the war, 
may be gauged by the fact that it has gained for the 
rulers of the bankrupt and hopelessly misgoverned Re- 
public a position of greater consideration in the eyes of 
the world than the country ever enjoyed under the old 
Imperial order. 

In the organisation and direction of political propa- 
ganda, Young China has been remarkably quick to per- 
ceive and make skilful use of the new field of oppor- 
tunity, created by America and England, in the educa- 
tion of Demos by means of knowledge in tabloid form 
administered by wireless. They have exploited this 
latest of modern inventions quite as cleverly, and for 
the same ends, as they had previously used the political 
theories of the Manchester School, the social ideals of 
the Labour Party, the pacific enthusiasms of Geneva 
and the uplifting activities of religious bodies in 
America. In the British B.B.C. they have 1 found, and 
made good use of, a steadily sympathetic supporter. 
Those who direct the policy of that licensed monopoly 
take their general cue^ no doubt, from the Government 
of the day and are, as a rule, subject to the same influ- 
ences as those which determine the attitude and utter- 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 

ances of the Treasury Bench. There may possibly be 
instances, such as that of Mr. Winston Churchill, where 
personal factors are involved; it is also conceivable that 
where Asiatic races are concerned., Sir John Reith and 
other magnates of the Corporation belong, consciously 
or unconsciously, to the C F.O. school of thought. 3 Be 
this as it may, the fact remains, incontestable, that 
whereas the Kuomintang's propagandists, publicists and 
apologists have enjoyed frequent opportunities of 
broadcasting matter calculated to create a favourable 
impression of the Nationalist Government's progressive 
tendencies, the grim realities of the situation have 
almost always been omitted from the picture. For 
example, at the time whe% towards the end of 1929, 
the Nanking Government had seen fit to "proscribe" 
and boycott the correspondents of several reputable 
American journals for having supplied their papers 
with accurate information in regard to these grim reali- 
ties, Dr. W. Y. Chen was permitted to announce from 
Savoy Hill that the purpose of the Kuomintang is "to 
secure economic justice and opportunity for the labour- 
ing classes and peasants, under a government of the 
pe'ople, by the people and for the people." Yet, had the 
B.B.C. authorities sought them, the broad facts of the 
situation, the facts which since then have wholly stulti- 
fied these pretensions, were readily accessible. The 
Peking correspondent of The Times, for example, had 
quite recently shown how the Kuomintang's govern- 
ment of the people, for the people, was working out in 

"The dictatorship of the Kuomintang/' he wrote, "is 
something which the Chinese can understand and even 
admire. But when hundreds of little branches of the 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

Kuomintang are composed o self-appointed youths, 
who spout orthodoxy, but use their 'opportunities to 
tyrannise over the' poor and to rob the respectable, in- 
dignation and dismay are wide-spread and deep." 

It is significant that the B.B.C.'s 'talks' on China, 
by speakers such as Mr. Vernon Bartlett and Professor 
Roxby, have all borne a distinct family resemblance to 
the writings of Mr. Lionel Curtis, Professor Arnold 
Toynbee, Sir Frederick Whyte and other sympathetic 
supporters of the Kuomintang regime ; and that they 
habitually ignore the humanitarian aspects of the ques- 
tion. The dumb misery of the masses, the wholesale 
massacres committed by war-lords and bandits, the 
horrors committed in the name of Communism, the 
persecution of native Christians and the rapacious 
money-lust of the Republican mandarins, are subjects 
seldom or never referred to in the polite circles of the 
B.B.C. Nevertheless^ certain dominant facts of the 
situation have been so repeatedly demonstrated during 
the past twenty years of misrule, that public opinion 
abroad should by now have formed a fairly accurate idea 
of the actual state of affairs, if these facts had not been 
continually obscured by the smoke-screen of political 
propaganda. Consider, for instance, the simple, undeni- 
able truth that, during all these years of civil war and 
brigandagd, while the people have been reduced to the 
lowest depths of destitution and despair, no sign of any 
determined effort to relieve their sufferings can be 
found in all the fervently patriotic manifestos of the 
rival politicians. One might suppose' that, this being the 
case, even the loftiest of highbrows might be led to ask 
himself whether the best interests of civilisation, not to 
say humanity, would not be better served by facing 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 

these grim realities, than by proceeding with new ex- 
periments in liberal theories. But pity ? tisj 'tis true, that 
the 'F.O. school of thought 3 is usually so absorbed in 
these experiments that it creates the impression of being 
as indifferent to the sufferings of the Chinese masses, 
as the 'Christian Genera? himself. 

In the course of a series of articles on China, contri- 
buted by Sir Frederick Whyte to The Times in 1928, 
recommending a rapprochement with the leaders of the 
Southern Nationalists at Nanking, he expressed the 
opinion that the Chinese, not being political adults, 
would require constructive aid for the achievement of 
their purposes and that, when they had "learnt the 
lesson of their own disorder," benevolent help from 
outside would be urgently needed. The constructive 
aid which he contemplated was presumably in the nature 
of that enlightened political guidance which Nanking 
might obtain from suitably selected advisers; apart from 
this, he expressed the belief that when the Chinese be- 
come aware of the significance of Geneva, "they will see 
a new light on their own problem. They may then 
possibly apply to the League of Nations for that aid." 

Sir Frederick Whyte's appearance on the scene at 
Nanking, and subsequent acceptance of the position of 
political adviser to the Nanking Government in 1929, 
coincides fairly closely with the first definite indications 
given by the Kuomintang Intelligentsia of their percep- 
tion of the important part which the League of Nations 
might be made to play in furtherance of the 1 Chinese 
Nationalist cause and aspirations, especially in regard 
to their differences with Japan over the Manchurian 
question. The results, from the Kuomintang's point of 
view, must have exceeded its highest expectations. From 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

the first, Nanking's representatives at Geneva found 
themselves dealing with groups of idealists and doc- 
trinaires who, in regard to Chinese affairs, have con- 
tinually displayed a simplicity and credulity which in- 
vest their benevolent activities with something very like 
fatuity. Under these conditions, the League speedily 
became a regular sounding board for Kuomintang pro- 
paganda, which, with the sympathetic assistance of the 
B.B.C., has been generously broadcast throughout the 
United Kingdom. In developing to the utmost the 
welcome opportunity thus provided, China's representa- 
tives displayed all their characteristic acumen, the in- 
telligent anticipation and flair which they habitually 
bring to bear upon international politics. They speedily 
realised that, by proclaiming Geneva to be their long- 
sought spiritual home, and by flattering the self-esteem 
of the League's Directorates, they would greatly 
strengthen the hands of the international idealists,, who 
had already done so much to popularise the doctrine of 
racial equality for their benefit. In pursuance of their 
own unchanging purposes, they exploited to the utmost 
the sympathy of Europe's collective intelligence, with 
the result that, within a very brief space 1 of time, the 
League of Nations was producing and distributing pro- 
paganda unmistakably identified with that of the Nan- 
king group of politicians. 

One typical instance may be cited. On March 2 7th, 
1930, Mr. Vernon Bartlett, London representative of 
the Le'ague of Nations, was permitted to broadcast his 
optimistic belief in the good intentions of the Nationalist 
leaders, in phraseology undistinguishable from that of 
the Kuomintang, the purpose of his address being to 
lend colour to the delusion that, in supporting the Nan- 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 

king faction, England would be serving the best interests 
of the Chinese people. After disparaging the northern 
war-lords, he proceeded to draw a picture of the 
Southern Nationalist leaders^ curiously similar to that 
drawn by Sir Frederick Whyte 1 in The Times. He 
described them as a body of men, mostly of Western 
education, who were "determined to turn China into a 
country run on the lines of Western civilisation." He 
went on to credit them with the organisation of "an 
efficient civil service," and concluded with the astound- 
ing statement that "the collection of taxes had become 
much more reasonable and systematic." Mr. Bartlett 
further expressed his belief that civil war in China 
would come to an end when the "social and economic 
benefits" of the Nanking Government's progressive 
activities had made themselves felt throughout the 

The simplicity displayed by Geneva in regard to 
everything connected with China has been so ingenuous 
that some of its manifestations incline one to doubt 
whether all concerned can really be so unsophisticated 
as they appear. For example, on April ist, 1930, it 
was announced in the Press that the Health Section of 
the League had recommended to the Council a pro- 
gramme, presented by the Chinese Government, for the 
organisation, in collaboration with the League, of a 
modern Public Health Service. In this case the Council 
of the League cannot have been completely ignorant of 
the real condition of affairs in regard to the public 
health in China, for it had sent out a Medical Mission 
six months before, to undertake a preliminary survey. 
It must have been aware that the Nanking Government 
was not in a position to allocate the funds required to 


CH'INA: The Pity of It 

finance a scheme of this magnitude^ and that its effective 
authority was not established over a sufficient area to 
permit of the serious discussion of anything in the 
nature of a national service'; in other words,' that the 
scheme was neither feasible nor seriously intended. It 
was, in fact (like the proposed reform of the national 
finances by American experts, or the reorganisation of 
the Chinese Navy by British advisers), a political 
window-dressing gesture, and nothing more. Instead of 
accepting the Nanking Ministry's programme and com- 
mending its "courage and vision," the Geneva Mission 
might more suitably have suggested that, as a proof of 
good-will and good faith, the Chinese Government 
should first proceed with the restoration and protection 
of the numerous hospitals and medical schools, estab- 
lished in various parts of the country by British and 
American missionary and benevolent societies, which had 
been expropriated and looted by the Chinese Govern- 
ment's own military forces. For those who understand 
the mentality of Chinese officialdom, there is nothing 
new or strange in a political gesture of this kind, nor 
any doubt as to its underlying motives , the remarkable 
feature of the situation is that the League of Nations 
should display such activity in the culture and distribu- 
tion of this 'eyewash,' and that the B.B.C. should think 
fit to advertise it freely to the British public. 

The beginning of 1931 witnessed a new act in the 
comedy^ from which it was reasonable to infer that, 
with an eye to impending developments of the Man- 
churian dispute, the Nanking Government had deter- 
mined to cultivate the League of Nations as the most 
promising, and least expensive, field in which to sow 
the seeds of propaganda. Early in the year it had 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 

issued invitations to no le'ss than three directors of the 
League (those of the Departments of Public Health, 
Financial Reorganisation and Communications) to visit 
Nanking, for the purpose of advising the Government 
on the very same problems which were to have been 
solved in 1928 by the Kemmerer Commission and later 
by Sir Frederick Whyte and a host of other counsellors. 
In the light of all experience, and considering the 
known facts of the situation, the advice to be tendered 
by these gentlemen from Geneva could not possibly 
produce any results more practical than those of their 
many predecessors. Like theirs, it was condemned in 
advance to polite futility but the gesture which in- 
vited it was undoubtedly good propaganda. 

A complete list of similar window-dressing gestures, 
covering the whole range of the Nanking Government's 
activities, would require a chapter to itself, but a brief 
list may usefully be given. First of all, there are the 
Constitution, the Civil and Criminal Codes,, and the 
'Three Principles/ which may be said to constitute the 
ornamental stucco fagade to the lath-and-plaster of the 
Republic^ useful for the beguiling of the foreigner, 
but with no more bearing on the realities of Chinese 
politics tha,n the signs of the zodiac. Next come the 
solemnly - staged farces of military disbandment, 
economic conferences, hypothetical budgets, together 
with machine-made official slogans against militarism, 
official corruption, communism, and what not; all calcu- 
lated to divert the attention of Europe and America 
from the simple truth that the struggle for place and 
power which began in 1911, remains wholly and solely 
a matter of money and armed men. Then there is the 
evergreen comedy of opium abolition, played by China's 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

diplomatic agents abroad with all the old earnestness 
of conviction^ though the whole world knows that the 
development of the opium traffic, as a chief source 1 of 
revenue, by the civil and military chiefs at Nanking, 
has been a public scandal of the first magnitude for the 
past ten years. Finally, there are a number of minor 
gestures, such as the engagement of experts to advise 
(without executive authority) on every subject under 
the sun; the fantastic project of a new Chinese fleet, to 
be bought and trained under the direction of British 
naval officers; the application of humanitarian labour 
laws for the benefit of Chinese manual workers, and the 
construction of a national system of railways and roads. 
But the most notable example of Europe's collective 
gullibility is that furnished by the attitude and proceed- 
ings of the League with regard to China's production 
and traffic of opium. Those who are familiar with the 
history of this question will recollect that when, with 
the sympathetic support of the missionary societies,, the 
Chinese Government first began to agitate, on moral 
grounds, for the abolition of the Indian opium trade, 
many competent observers pointed out that its ultimate 
purpose was to secure a mandarin monopoly of traffic 
in the native-grown drug, free from foreign competi- 
tion. The Indian trade having been suppressed, China's 
propagandists, native and foreign, proceeded to explain 
that she could not hope to abolish the native 1 trade unless 
the Powers first conceded tariff autonomy. This end 
having been achieved, all further pretence of sacrificing 
the vastly lucrative opium revenues was abandoned^ 
except in official documents intended for foreign con- 
sumption. The Opium Suppression Bureau became, 
without concealment, the Government's chief agency 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 

for the control and promotion of the traffic. "All up 
and down the Yangtze," wrote a reliable observer two 
years ago, "the movement of opium is quite open. 
Foreign shipping-masters know that it is being carried 
in their vessels j so do the Customs outdoor men y but 
neither dare interf ere, literally for the sake of their 
lives." Nor are the mandarins 5 drug-dealing activities 
confined to opium. In 1928, there occurred a case (to 
which the attention of the advisory Committee of the 
League was subsequently drawn), in which the 1 Chinese 
Minister of the Interior had issued a permit to an in- 
dividual chemist for the importation of four tons of 
heroinj and other equally instructive instances might 
be cited. At the same time, the business of deluding 
public opinion abroad has been conducted as energetic- 
ally as the opium trade itself. At the end of 1930, the 
Nanking Suppression Bureau issued a list of drastic 
regulations, purporting to prevent the importation of 
the drug into China by foreign ships and aeroplanes. 
On the eve of the meeting of the Advisory Committee 
of the League of Nations in January, 1931, the Chinese 
Minister for Foreign Affairs at Nanking issued a state- 
ment on the subject of opium, in the course of which 
he observed: 

"During the past two years China has exerted great efforts 
for the 'suppression of the traffic in opium and other danger- 
ous drugs. Up to date, many new regulations have been 
promulgated, such as those relating to the inspection of poppy 
cultivation by District Magistrates; to the disposal of the 
fines imposed in opium cases; to the rewarding ^ and repri- 
manding of Government officials in connection with the dis- 
charge of their duties, etc., etc. . . . The effect of these 
regulations is most encouraging." 

Five months later, the correspondent of the North 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

China D$ly News at Luchowfu, in the province of 
Anhui, reporting on the conditions of the opium traffic 
in his district, wrote as follows: 

"Harvest time has come for the tens of thousands of gay 
poppy fields in this section. We are now only a few hours by 
rail and car from Nanking. While the big political meetings 
are being held there, tons of opium are being started on their 
way to fill the opium pipes of the nation, from this district 
alone. . . . 

"We can hardly tell how it looks from the outside, but 
looked at from the inside, here, it looks as if the opium trade 
were about the country's chief business." 

On 2nd February, 1931, in a speech referring to 
the importation of foreign drugs into China, Mr. L. A. 
Lyallj Chairman of the Permanent Opium Board at 
Geneva, observed that "it was scandalous that the pros- 
perity of a great country should be sacrificed to the 
interests of a few manufacturers." The League's in- 
dignation might perhaps have been less widely endorsed, 
had public opinion been placed in possession of certain 
facts of the case which were, or should have been, easily 
available. The China Year Book for 1931 contains a 
summary of the state of the opium traffic in every 
province, compiled from the? reports of resident 
missionaries. The whole document proves conclusively 
if proof be needed that so long as China is re- 
sponsible for about ninety per cent of the world's poppy 
cultivation, and so long as the League is prepared to 
acquiesce in the refusal of the Nanking Government to 
permit its Opium Commissions to conduct any enquiries 
in China^ the pronouncements of its Permanent Opium 
Board must continue to be purely academic. The same 
observation applies, though in a less degree, to the traffic 
in narcotic drugs, as is shown by the following extract 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 
from the Szechuan section of the Year Book summary: 

"At Chungking it is estimated that twenty million ounces 
of opium were exported in 1930 ... 

"Chungking reports that during 1929 and 1930, a large 
quantity of morphia was prepared locally and shipped down 
river. ^At Chungking ^ and its environs there are about 100 
morphia factories, besides many more in the country." 

To sum up. The general attitude' and proceedings of 
the League of Nations in matters relating to China, 
and the peculiar susceptibility which it has displayed to 
Kuomintang propaganda, reflect the collective opinion 
of a body of individuals who have no direct knowledge' 
or experience of the Oriental races to whom their sym- 
pathies and antipathies go out, and whose collective 
judgment on Asiatic problems is therefore 1 inherently 
unsound. Also they reflect the remarkable influence 
which China's westernised Intellectuals habitually exer- 
cise on the type of mind which figures so prominently 
in the personnel of the League's Directorates, the type 
for which, as Lord Bryce says, the idea of racial equality 
is "a dogma, almost a faith." The whole record of the 
League's proceedings in the matter of the Manchurian 
dispute bears testimony to a very definite bias on the 
Chinese side. Even after the Lytton Commission of 
Enquiry had set forth on its appointed mission, the 
League's official representative in London, Mr. Vernon 
Bartlett, was permitted to broadcast opinions on the Far 
Eastern question, that were unmistakably hostile to Japan 
and frequently of a nature to prejudice public opinion 
in matters which, pending the! Commission's report, 
should have been regarded as sub jwdice. Similarly, the 
political activities at Shanghai of Dr. Louis Rajchmann, 
one of the League's Public Health emissaries, at the be- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

ginning of the Manchurian dispute 1 ^ were strongly 
partisan. They were severely criticised, as such, by the 
Shanghai Press, and formed the subject of formal pro- 
tests by the Japanese authorities. 

The League of Nations Union, inspired and guided by- 
such eminent internationalists as Viscount Cecil and 
Professor Gilbert Murray, has been even more emphatic 
than the League itself in championing the cause' of 
China against Japanese "Imperialism." The speech in 
which Viscount Cecil drew attention to "certain aspects 
of the Sino-Japanese situation" at the Albert Hall on 
27th February, 1932, made it abundantly clear,, to every 
impartial observer, that many of the causes antecedent 
to the Manchurian crisis were due to a complete mis- 
understanding, on the part of the League and its 
kindred associations, of the real condition of affairs in 
China and the ultimate purposes of the political groups 
which claim to govern the country. In a letter addressed 
to Viscount Cecil, after the delivery of this Albert Hall 
address, I ventured to observe that, for lack of the 
necessary understanding, the! League of Nations had 
added to the dangerous complications of a problem, in 
which, things being as they are, its intervention could 
not hope to achieve good results. 

"Granted," I wrote* "that China, a member of the League, 
having applied for intervention, the Council had no option 
in the matter but the manner of its intervention, which 
ignored the real nature and causes of the trouble, stultified 
the League position from the outset. Had the League re- 
quested Japan to withdraw her armed forces from Chinese 
territory outside the leased railway zone, on the sole ground 
that their presence there constituted a violation of the Cove- 
nant of the League and the Kellogg Pact, its position would 
at least have been unassailable and dignified. But in asking 
that this evacuation should be made in return for a guarantee 
by the Chinese Government, that they would, effectively pro- 


Kuomintang Propaganda and Geneva 

tect the persons and property of Japanese in Manchuria, the 
Council ignored the vital fact, that the whole situation in 
that loosely held Dependency is a direct and inevitable result 
of the parlous misgovernment of China. To profess to seek 
a solution of the dispute on the assumption that China has 
the power or the will to fulfil any such guarantee, was 
merely to proclaim to the world the League's ignorance of, 
or its indifference to, uncomfortable facts. Incidentally, it 
also justified in advance, by implication, Japan's recourse to 
forcible measures, so soon as China's guarantee should have 
proved valueless. 

"The truth of the whole matter has been succinctly stated 
by an Englishman with wide knowledge and experience of 
Chinese officialdom. In a letter to The Times of February 
8th, he said, 'The intrinsic difficulty arises from the fact that 
China is a disorganised territory in which responsible 
government is non-existent,, that the mass of the population 
is inarticulate, and that the public opinion where it exists 
cannot be uttered if it is in opposition to the authority par- 
ticularly the military authority for the time being in power 
in any locality.' 

"The League's persistent indifference to^this truth is, I 
venture to suggest, a matter of even greater importance than 
the military operations which have taken place around and 
about Shanghai. How comes it that in dealing with this 
problem, the collective intelligence represented at Geneva 
is so deeply concerned for 'the mint and anise and cummin' 
of protocols and pacts, and so indifferent to the 'weightier 
matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith,' in other 
words, to the pitiful sufferings of the Chinese people? The 
explanation is to be found, I think, in the almost hypnotic 
influence exercised by Chinese propagandists of the western- 
ised Intellectual type, on the minds of those who inspire and 
direct the proceedings of the League. The point needs no 
stressing. The peculiar susceptibility of the League to 
Kuomintang propaganda has been continually manifested, by 
well-meant but unfortunate gestures, -since M. Albert 
Thomas first went out of his way at Shanghai to attribute 
China's economic and political disabilities to the oppression 
of the 'unequal Treaties.' To-day, while China lies pros- 
trate under ever-increasing burdens of civil ^war, banditry, 
famine, flood and misrule, the League continues freely^ to 
spend money in sending out Professors, Directors of technical 
organisations, and members of the Secretariat, for the pur- 
pose of reorganising China's non-existent Health services and 
in order 'to facilitate interchanges between centres of intel- 

215 p 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

lectual activity in China and elsewhere.' The active sym- 
pathies displayed by some of these emissaries (notably by 
Dr. Louis Rajchmann) on the Chinese side of the Man- 
churian dispute^ have been severely criticised on the spot.^ In 
a word, the whole attitude of the League, in regard to China, 
reflects the preponderance of political theories and sym- 
pathies, applied without direct knowledge of the country con- 
cerned, and a lack of understanding which has enabled Mr. 
Alfred Sze and Dr. Yen to manoeuvre the Council into a 
dangerously false position. 

"Last, but not least, in inviting the United States to be- 
come an honorary member for the discussion of the Man- 
churian problem and to assist in its deliberations, the League 
has given proof of partiality for the Chinese side of the case. 
For it is not to be denied that, ever since the Russo-Japanese 
War, there has been a marked tendency of public opinion in 
the United States to challenge Japan's position of 'special 
interests' and influence in Manchuria. Nothing can be gained 
by shutting our eyes to this fact. 

"The Washington Conference was practically an intima- 
tion to the world in general, and to Japan in particular, of 
America's intention to establish a sort of moral guardianship 
of China and to challenge any extension of Japan's 'special 
interests' in Manchuria. The instincts and interests which 
threaten ultimately to conflict in that region are not so much 
those of China and Japan (for China's chaotic state does not 
permit of constructive national effort), as those of Japan 
and America. Such being the case, the position of the League, 
as an international pacificator, becomes invidious, when it in- 
vites America, a non-member, to take part in adjudication 
in a matter which Japan has repeatedly declared to be vital 
to her national security and very existence. 

"A word, in conclusion, as to Great Britain's position in 
this quarrel. Great Britain is still an Asiatic Power and if, 
for the reasons which I have outlined, public opinion in this 
country should come to the conclusion that the League of t 
Nations cannot deal effectively with the problems of Asia, 
it would seem to follow that the Covenant of the League can- 
not be a safe 'corner-stone of Great Britain's foreign policy.' 

"I remain, dear sir, 

"Yours very truly, 

"J. 0. P. BLAND." 




"How, in the name of soldiership and sense 
Should England prosper, when such things . . . 
Who sell their laurel for a myrtle wreath 
And love when they should fight . . . when such as these 
Presume to lay their hands upon the ark 
Of her magnificent and awful cause?" 


"An hour's conversation with Mr. Eugene Chen was worth 
an army corps in removing risks to men and women." 
Mr. Ramsay MacDonald (Albert Hall, 6th Feb., 

I AM conscious of the' possibility that some readers, un- 
aware of certain undercurrents and unseen forces which 
have contributed to determine the course of twentieth 
century history in the Far East, may consider that I have 
unduly stressed the importance of the part which senti- 
mental idealism in politics has played in the tragedy 
of modern China. 

Few will deny that, in the conditions prevailing in 
present-day Europe, the world is continually confronted 
with evidence of the lamentable consequences of the 
loose-thinking 'liberalism,' which found expression in 
the Treaty of Versailles, but the general trend of public 
opinion in regard to Asiatic affairs, as reflected in con- 
temporary literature and journalism, shows clearly that 
only a comparatively small number of observers perceive 
how powerfully the same type of unscientific sentimen- 
tality has contributed to evoke and perpetuate conditions 
of chaotic unrest and lawlessness in India, China and 
other parts of Asia. Nevertheless, it is becoming increas- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

Ingly evident that no improvement in these conditions 
can ever be achieved until public opinion is better in- 
formed as to the true causes of Asia's discontents,, until, 
in dealing with Asiatic peoples, we shall have replaced 
the now fashionable protean internationalism, by a 
normal individualism and the encouragement of truly 
national cultures. There can be no hopeful prospect of 
internal peace for China, until discipline has been re- 
stored, and taken eifect, as an essential part of a truly 
national system of education. Therefore, at the risk of 
wearying the initiated by insistence on this aspect of the 
problems which vex and perplex modern China,, I pro- 
pose to analyse somewhat more closely, the doctrinaire 
attitude of mind which inspires activities such as those 
which were discussed in Chapter IX. To that end, I 
propose to invoke the authority of two observers, whose 
direct experience and close study of Asiatic life entitles 
them to a consideration at least as serious as that which 
we have accorded in recent years to the pious opinions 
of the Manchester school^ to "the doctrinaire parrot- 
cries that passed for serious thought at the close of the 
nineteenth century."* 

Before so doing, however, let us digress to consider 
briefly the nature of "Die-hards," by which name (as a 
term of reproach) the authorities to whom I refer, will 
no doubt be summarily dismissed by many of the "unco 
guid." It has become the fashion to describe as Die- 
hards those whoj at the risk of being unfashionable, per- 
sist in adhering to their belief in such old-world things 
as the British Empire, the unswerving maintenance 
of law and order, the sahib's stoip sense of duty and 

*Sir Arnold Wilson, "Constitutional Tendencies in Eastern Coun- 
tries/ 1 English Review, May, 1932. 


The Anatomy of Idealism in Politics 

the responsibilities of the Raj. The term, as used 
by the pundits of the Round Table school and other 
superior persons, is intended to designate the owner of 
a mind impervious to enlightenment, a species of clotted 
Conservative, past praying for. But when one comes 
to examine closely the attitudes and utterances of these 
same political highbrows, of the individuals and coteries 
who claim to mould public opinion and to guide the 
destinies of a world made free for democracy, one 
speedily discovers that, in the matter of inflexibility of 
fixed ideas, the most obdurate of Die-hards cannot hold 
a candle to them. Their type of mind, so conspicuous in 
official and philanthropic circles since the war, which 
deprecates any manifestation of the commercial spirit 
by a nation of shop-keepers^ the type which believes im- 
plicitly in universal suffrage, universal arbitration and 
the world-wide applicability of democratic institutions, 
continually displays a super-diehard indifference to 
facts and arguments, whenever they happen to conflict 
with its own pet theories. 

Lord Lloyd is beyond all peradventure a Diehard, 
but an administrator of the Cromer type, of proved 
ability and wide experience of Asia and the Asiatics. 
Addressing the British Empire Union on December 5th, 
1929, with especial reference to the situation in Egypt, 
he was at pains to impress upon his audience the dan- 
gerous folly of the school of thought which persists in 
attributing to semi-civilized Asiatics and African nations 
the qualities requisite for successful self-government 
and enlightened internationalism. 

"The main cause for the alarm and preoccupation of so 
many of those who are familiar with Eastern affairs/' he 
said, "is not so much because of any single proposal or de- 
claration, in this treaty or that, regarding this or that area 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

of British interest in the East to-day,, grave as each may be, 
but rather the cynicism and levity with which it is proposed 
to abandon vital strategic positions, to allow our position in 
great markets, built up by the courage and enterprise of o-ur 
people, wantonly to be sacrificed, and helpless masses of 
people, who have always looted to us for their protection, 
abandoned and thrown back into conditions from which 
they were gradually being rescued and emancipated, by 
the protection of British arms on the one hand, and the 
patient and studied devotion of the great Civil Service on 
the other. 

"It is the fashion of the moment, so it sometimes seems, 
to make light of these great responsibilities, and to be care- 
less of these grave obligations. It is all the more curious that 
it should be so, when one recollects that, what some are to- 
day so willing to yield at the point of a pen,, was only 
recently not to be wrested from us, even at the cost of long- 
drawn suffering and death. In so far as the public may be 
apathetic towards these dangers, the explanation is, I think, 
that many of them are sincerely under the impression that 
the relaxation of our control in the East is a liberalising 
policy towards the masses of the peoples in the East. If only 
they realised that British rule in the East has always been 
the protection of the under-dog; that it is British rule alone 
that has stood between him and his old oppressors, and that 
the premature relaxation of our rule, before he has been 
sufficiently educated, organised and emancipated to defend 
himself, is not a liberalising policy, but exactly the contrary; 
it is a policy whereby we make ourselves privy to the restora- 
tion of religious and political oligarchies and tyrannies of an 
oppressive and evil kind/' 

These words accurately describe not only the errors 
and dangers of the Montagu experiment of dyarchy in 
India, but those of our policy of patient conciliation 
adopted towards the Kuomintang or Nationalist faction 
in China. In both countries we have deliberately jeopar- 
dized the strategic position and vital interests of the 
British Empire, as well as the well-being and security 
of the masses of the peoples concerned, and this in order 
to conciliate some thousands of self-elected Western- 
ised politicians, lawyers and intellectuals, whose chief 


The! Anatomy of Idealism in Politics 

concern is the advancement of their own class interests, 
and whose hostility towards us increases with every 
graceful concession made to them. 

Lord Lloyd concluded his address with the follow- 
ing words of warning: 

"If you allow disorder or misgovernment to take the place 
of order and stable government, the purchasing power of the 
people will be reduced; if you hand over the direction of 
affairs to agitators who are avowed enemies of this country, 
you will lose your^ markets and imperil still further the 
already grave position in this country. Already our share 
of the Eastern markets Egypt, India, China has suffered 
grave and dangerous reduction^ a tendency which will be 
gravely accentuated unless we reconsider our attitude to- 
wards those great problems. It is not a little curious that the 
same government who so carelessly throw away our own 
real and existing markets in the East, should be willing to 
sell ^o-ur country's soul in order to buy purely problematical 
Soviet trade in the West. Let no one think that those who 
lightly press down the accelerator of democratic progress in 
the East are the true friends of its peoples. It is rather those 
of us who, in spite of misrepresentation and abuse,, urge that 
it is prudence that will bring real and lasting progress by law 
and order that you will get liberty, and by firm rule, affec- 
tion and respect, who are the true friends of the East and its 

Lord Lloyd^ it will be observed, finds the explanation 
of his countrymen's apathetic attitude towards Eastern 
affairs in the prevalence of the belief that the' relaxation 
of our control is a liberalising policy towards the masses 
of the people in the East. His warning is, in fact, an 
indictment of that school of Liberal thought which, 
since the war, and most notably when Sir Austen 
Chamberlain was at the Foreign Office, has become 
obsessed with the dogma of racial equality and the uni- 
versal applicability of democratic institutions, and there- 
fore disposed to apply them, with that cynical levity 
winch Lord Lloyd deplores, and without direct 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

ledge of the races with which, in theory, they sym- 

Another profound observer of Eastern affairs, Mere- 
dith Townsend, when discussing the future of India 
twenty years ago, drew attention to the momentous 
change which had already taken place in the attitude 
of Englishmen towards the great Imperial interests 
which had been "built up by the courage and enterprise 
of our people in the East." The present-day cynicism 
and levity had not then become features of the problem. 
The change, as he saw it, was simply due to the in- 
creasing prevalence of sentimental idealism in political 

"Whether for good or evil, a great change is passing over 
Englishmen. They have become uncertain of themselves, 
afraid of their old opinions, doubtful of the true teaching 
of their own consciences. They doubt if they have any longer 
any more right to rule anyone^ themselves almost included. 
An old mental disease, the love of approbation, has sud- 
denly risen among them to the height of a passion. Instead 
of being content to rule well, to do justice and to love mercy, 
they are trying themselves by a new standard, and desire to 
rule so that the governed may applaud, or, as they phrase 
it with a certain unconscious unctuousness, may love' them. 
That is the real root of the great change which has passed 
over the management of children, of the whole difficulty in 
Ireland, of the reluctance to conquer, and of the whole of 
our new philanthropic and social legislation." 

In the twenty years that have elapsed since these 
words were written, the symptoms of this "old mental 
disease, the love of approbation," have greatly in- 
creased. In India, Ireland, Egypt and the Far East, its 
effect has been to jeopardize the security of the Empire 
at vital points, without winning approbation in return. 
"Adventures in Liberalism" have become the order of 
the day, with Utopia as their objective, by paths of in- 


The Anatomy of Idealism in Politics 

ternational pacifism. The fact that such adventures can 
be continually indulged in,, without being seriously chal- 
lenged by Parliament and Press^ would seem to indi- 
cate that the body politic has been badly infected by the 
state of mind which seeks refuge from realities in self- 
deluding optimism. 

British public opinion, in the sphere of world politics, 
has to a great extent surrendered its critical faculty in 
recent years to the guidance of the internationalists of 
the Round Table coterie and the League' of Nations 
Union. One may venture the hope that the surrender 
is only temporary, inasmuch as persistence on the prim- 
rose path of plausible' delusions is bound to produce un- 
pleasant results of the kind which Lord Lloyd antici- 
pates, and these, in their turn, must produce a powerful 
reaction. This also Meredith Townsend foresaw, 
observing that no democracy other than ours entertains 
any genuine doubts as to its right to govern. But things 
have gone so far, and such boundless ambitions now in- 
spire the small class of Westernised Intellectuals which 
is disturbing the 'pathetic content 5 of India and China, 
that it will probably require a serious catastrophe to re- 
store general recognition of the fundamental truths, 
that democratic institutions are wholly inapplicable to 
Asia, and that a policy of forbearing conciliation has 
never yet secured the respect or the good-will of an 
Asiatic people. 

Meanwhile, however^ in the general apathy mani- 
fested with regard to British policy in Asia by our 
hugely-swollen electorate, and in the docile surrender 
of the critical faculty to the guidance of internationalist 
doctrinaires, many observers perceive evidence of 
deterioration in the once robust political instincts of 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

the British people, symptomatic of the decline of 
liberty in England. Bd this as it may, it cannot be 
denied that a great change has taken, and is taking, 
place in these instincts, or at least in the outward and 
visible signs of those inward and spiritual qualities 
which, through the long centuries, have built up the 
British Constitution and inspired the Mother of Parlia- 
ments. If the pessimists are right, if this change fore- 
shadows the decline and fall of the Empire, the end of 
the type of Western civilisation which, more than any 
other, has blazed new trails of liberty and justice and 
given peace and security to the weaker nations, the 
historian of the millennium may be led to discover the 
initial cause of this decline in the insidious processes 
which have gradually concentrated political influence in 
the hands of the type which the late Prebendary Gough 
has described as that of the "dangerous Feminine 
Man. 33 The doom of the Raj,i like that of Rome, will 
have come about, not by the strength of hostile tribes 
on its frontiers, but by the insidious elements of 
decay, of intellectual dry-rot, at the heart of the 

Preaching at the Guards 3 Chapel in Wellington 
Barracks in the summer of 1927, Prebendary Gough 
deplored the sapping of the masculine element in the 
religion and politics of the British nation, and com- 
mented as follows on the extraordinary influence now 
exercised by the Feminine Man on the affairs of Church 
and State: 

"Any attempt to energise the nation by appeals to a mascu- 
line and Imperial spirit however gracious and humane the 
purposes to which it is invited to devote its energies is 
becoming increasingly regarded as 'unchristian.' We are to 
a special kind of politics, economics and citizenship for 

The Anatomy o Idealism in Politics 

restraining efficiency and flattering the incapable. . . . The 
Feminine Man is so full of pity for any spectacle which 
suggests hard work, and so unfriendly in his attitude towards 
robust strength or efficiency, especially efficiency which ex- 
pects to receive any reward for being efficient. Very strangely, 
he can often applaud vigorous exercises in other races which 
are not friendly to us, but he holds that it is irreligious to 
commend these things in the people of England. . . , This 
sort of person has a settled conviction that his country is 
wrong, and any foes who rise against her, right. He is for 
the most part in favour of making friendly agreements with 
irreconcilable enemies, even with an enemy who throughout 
the world is striving for the overthrow of our Empire. And 
he is quite pleased to bribe the old English energy down into 
home-abiding lethargy by doles and such-like expedients." 

I have quoted Prebendary Cough's analysis of the 
mentality of the Feminine Man because it summarises 
many of the most conspicuous characteristics and pro- 
clivities of the "Round Table" and Fabian schools of 
thought, of our Norman Angells and Gilbert Murrays, 
our Wellses and Curtises, our Toynbees and Bertrand 
Russells. In particular, the foreign and colonial policy 
of the late Labour Government^ dominated by its 
doctrinaires, reflected this influence with unswerving 
fidelity and increasingly disastrous results, of which the 
end is not yet. In India, Ceylon, Egypt, Malaya, China, 
Ireland, and many other parts of the world, we are to- 
day confronted with these results and saddled with 
policies which, born of the peculiar delusions of the 
Feminine Man, applaud the expression of vigorous 
nationalism by every race except their own and conceal 
the lamentable consequences of their misguided sym- 
pathies under a smoke-screen of self-deluding optimism. 
Thus we have seen the Foreign Office endeavouring at 
all costs to conciliate the contemptuously irreconcilable 
Soviets and to concede all the impossible demands of 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

China's militant Nationalism j we have seen the India 
Office carrying the Montagu policy to its logical conclu- 
sion by parleying with 'organised law-breaking and 
sedition j and we have seen the Colonial Office proclaim- 
ing a 'native 5 policy in South Africa which plainly im- 
plied, that the white settlers in territories controlled by 
that office are objects of suspicion (as the Shanghai 
traders are to the 'Foreign Office) to be cheerfully 
sacrificed to the Feminine Man's conception of 

When, more than thirty years ago, Meredith 
Townsend discussed the question "Will England retain 
India?" he observed that, starting from the fallacious 
assumption that all men are equal, the Fabians of that 
day had initiated a process of disintegration which, if 
carried to its logical conclusion, must mean the doom of 
the Raj 5 that is to say, "that the noblest dream ever 
dreamed by man (that of tranquilly guiding, control- 
ling and perfecting the Asiatic until the': worse qualities 
of his organisation had gone out of him) was but a 
dream after all." He foresaw that, in this process of 
disintegration, the Imperial Service must inevitably 
pass into the hands of men "who have every temptation 
to be, and will be, Indian Pashas." Furthermore, since 
there would not be time to complete the one great work 
which that Service has begun* namely, the substitu- 
tion of the idea of government by law for that of gov- 
ernment by human volition he thought it probable 
that India must fall to pieces and become once more the 
victim of incessant wars y invasions and struggles for 

* Mr. Lionel Curtis, as befits the chief advocate of dyarchy, believes 
that this work of civilisation has actually been completed, and that 
the rule of law has now been established in India. Vide The Capital 
Question of China, p. 263. 


The Anatomy of Idealism in Politics 

personal ascendancy. That is to say, he foresaw that 
experiments with liberal theories, and blind devotion to 
the dogma of self-determination, would produce in 
India chaos of a kind identical with that which they 
have actually produced within the last twenty years in 
China 5 in other words, that the fixed ideas of the 
Feminine Man would be applied in Asia at an incalcul- 
able cost of human suffering. 

Despite his conviction that the disintegration of the 
Raj had definitely begun, Townsend thought it possible 
(though he could not persuade himself that it was 
probable) that English opinion might undergo a healthy 
reaction and modify the doctrine of racial equality with 
just recognition of insuperable radal differences. But 
his outlook and none was better qualified to judge 
was, on the whole, pessimistic, for he perceived that 
if the Englishman, by virtue of the authoritative morale 
of his race, has not a moral right and duty to govern 
India (pending Asia's acquisition and application of the 
idea of government by law), then the Raj becomes 
manifestly impossible and the White Man can only 
remain in Asia on sufferance and at his periL This 
opinion, be it observed, is practically the same as that 
which, by a very different process of reasoning, the Pan- 
Asiatics of Japan's "Black Dragon" Society have 
reached, and by virtue of which they aspire to proclaim 
their Monroe doctrine of the Far East. 

Amongst the most distinctive characteristics of the 
Feminine Man are his indifference to logic and the 
consistent inconsistency which he displays in the en- 
thusiastic pursuit of his ideals. The long-haired men 
and short-haired women who profess the international- 
ists' creed of political magnanimity, by assuming that in 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

every dispute England must be wrong^ are serenely un- 
conscious of anything unreasonable in a faith which, 
while it looks to the Intelligentsia of India and China 
to bring about a New Era in those countries, continually 
proclaims its sympathy for the Russian type of self- 
determination, which puts its Intelligentsia to the sword 5 
the truth of the matter being that, in each case, their 
sympathy is instinctive, in that it is extended to those 
who are opposed to the British type of civilisation. They 
can find it in their hearts to admire the active, self- 
helping militant nationalism of Young Germany, as 
proclaimed by Herr Hitler, and advocate' the revision 
of the Treaty of Versailles in support of its aspirations j 
but they cannot abide the thought that the youth of 
England should be permitted to manifest its love of 
country, or its readiness to defend it, by anything 
savouring of 'militarism. 3 The professed ends of 
their political faith are those of a benevolent humani- 
tarianism, yet in pursuing them, they display a curiously 
inhuman callousness towards the sufferings which their 
uplifting processes involve the barbaric horrors of the 
Soviet regime^ for example, or the pitiful condition to 
which 'nationalism' has reduced the Chinese people. 
By acquiescing in the' guardianship of mandated terri- 
tories under the auspices of the League of Nations, they 
tacitly recognize the truth that, as Amiel says, the 
foundation of true humanity is justice, and justice for 
the weak necessitates some form of protection, but they 
fail with one accord to recognize the obvious fact that 
the two nations which most urgently need protection, 
as wards of civilisation, to-day and for many a day to 
come, are India and China. 

But, the enquiring reader may observe, if the phil- 


The Anatomy of Idealism in Politics 

osophical and moral bases of China's ancient civilisa- 
tion are as excellent as has been suggested in an earlier 
chapter, if the products of that civilisation have proved 
to be enduring beyond all human experience and, in 
many other respects, admirable, how is it possible con- 
sistently to profess sincere respect for this Chinese 
system of ethics, morals and culture and at the same 
time to sympathise with regrets, such as Meredith 
Townsend's, for the doom of the Raj and the failure 
of its civilising mission in Asia? The apparent incon- 
sistency between the two attitudes thus adopted will, 
however, be removed, if it be borne in mind that Town- 
send regarded the "one great work which the Raj had 
begun in India" (namely, the education of the con- 
glomerate of races to the idea of government by law) 
as "the noblest dream ever dreamed by man"j at the 
same time, it was his opinion that it would take at least 
three centuries for this idea to filter down to the 
masses. Even if we now assume that, in the course of 
two or three hundred years, this dream can become a 
living reality, for the present it remains incontestably 
true that, as regards the essential bases of political 
morality and thought and of social economy, West is 
still West and East determinedly East. In the domain 
of realities, the principles, qualities and defects which 
characterise the eastern and western types of civilisation 
respectively, must continue to exist and to represent the 
essential difference between the active, self-helping, 
western type of human beings and the passive, non-re- 
sisting Asiatic type. For the present, and so long as these 
inherent differences persist, until, in fact, the dream 
of the Internationalists has been fulfilled in a world 
which knows no frontiers, or barriers of language, 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

creed or colour, the British type of civilisation will 
probably continue to be the best type evolved by the 
nations of the western world 5 while the Chinese is un- 
doubtedly the highest which Asia has ever produced. 
The active, self-helping western type is by its nature 
disposed to dominate and to proselytise} the eastern, 
to passive resistance} and each has fulfilled, not with- 
out dignity, its destiny. 

As a purely abstract question, there may be matter 
for speculation and debate as to whether any western 
race can be morally justified in assuming the govern- 
ment of non-resisting Asiatics} alsoy whether the Euro- 
pean nations had any moral right to compel Asia, as 
they did, to abandon its immemorial policy of seclusion. 
But for practical men, the fact remains that these rights, 
and others arising out of them, have been assumed for 
the last two centuries, and that to-day the King of 
England is Emperor of India. It may be, as the self- 
determinationists assert, that the tribes and races which 
inhabit India would rather be badly governed by 
Indians than well governed by Englishmen} it may 
be that Asia, as a whole, would have been "earthlier 
happy" in its own way, if the West had never invaded 
its borders, to make its people conscious of their mili- 
tary inferiority, and later, of their 'pathetic content.' 
But these^ after all, are speculations with which, until 
lately, the Raj has not been greatly concerned. 

The curious feature, and the tragedy, of the world- 
policies imposed upon us to-day by our twentieth- 
century Internationalists is that, in their zeal tp shatter 
the present "sorry scheme of things entire, and then 
remould it nearer to their heart's desire,*' they are 
all busily engaged in sapping the foundations upon 

The Anatomy of Idealism in Politics 

which these two, the highest forms of civilisation. East 
and West, are based. In both cases, the immediate re- 
sult of their indefatigable activities is to undermine the 
moral authority of the Raj on the one hand, and the 
Confucian system of philosopy and ethics, on the 
other. In their earnest pursuance of the shadow of a 
world-wide cosmopolitan democracy, they ascribe no 
vital importance to the innate differences that divide 
race from race; in their zeal for the theory of radal 
equality, they overlook the truth that these differences 
connote inequality in practically every direction except 
that of an abstract morality. Viewed in the light of 
such knowledge as we possess of the civilisations that 
have waxed and waned on this planety the British 
Empire and the political philosophy of China repre- 
sent each in its way, high levels of practical wisdom and 
constructive achievement rarely, if ever, equalled in 
the history of the human race j yet both, if the theorists 
of advanced 'liberalism 3 had their way, would be 
relegated to the limbo of systems outworn. 




THE purpose of the present work being to analyse and 
explain the various forces, influences and tendencies 
which have contributed to the process of demoralisation 
in China during the past decade, a discussion of the 
Manchurian question may seem to be somewhat outside 
its intended scope. Strictly speaking, the situation which 
has gradually and inevitably developed in China's 
loosely-held northern dependencies since the Washing- 
ton Conference, is in itself only one of the major 
symptoms of this demoralisation. It might, therefore, 
be omitted from the purview of this book, on the same 
principle that the status of the International Settlement 
at Shanghai and other similar questions are omitted 
namely, that all these are merely symptomatic, surface 
indications of deep-rooted organic disease in China's 
body politic. 

Moreover, since the publication of Mr. Owen Latti- 
more's erudite and most illuminating work* there is 
actually no need for further elucidation of the essential 
factors of the Manchurian problem, for he has brought 
to bear upon it not only the results of years of com- 
petent research, but the analytical discrimination of a 
trained observer, and the result is a closely-reasoned 
sociological and historical study, which explains and 
emphasises several generally neglected aspects of the 

* Manchuiia, Cradle of Conflict. By Owen Lattimore. (Macmillan, 


The Question of Manchuria 

problem. From the ancient 'tribal' history of Man- 
churia he has traced the modern relation between it and 
China and the real significance of the present-day con- 
flict of races and interests, with their invasions of 
colonists and rivalry of civilisations. With history for 
his background, he has demonstrated the relation be- 
tween the living phenomena of society^ as developed 
by the cultural and tribal influences of this region, and 
the conspicuous facts, political and economic, of the 
existing situation. This masterly survey of the Man- 
churian question should enable every student of Far 
Eastern affairs to see it in correct perspective and with 
an accurate appreciation of relative values j in the field 
which it covers, there is little which can usefully be 
added for the enlightenment of public opinion. 

Nevertheless, because of the world-wide importance 
which this question has assumed, as the result of the 
action taken, at China's request, by the League of 
Nations, and of the attitude' assumed towards it by the 
United States Government (as set forth in Mr. Secre- 
tary Stimson's letter to the Chairman of the Foreign 
Relations Committee of the Senate on February 24th, 
1932), it se'ems advisable, and pertinent to the general 
purpose of this book, to discuss certain political aspects 
of the question, which are outside the scope of Mr. 
Lattimore's survey. As a rule^ these have been over- 
looked, a,nd often confused, at Geneva in the tumult of 
words which has arisen out of Japan's fordble assertion 
of her special rights and interests and other develop- 
ments of the situation, prior to the declaration of Man- 
churia's independence (March, 1932). 

Before proceeding to consider the main facts of the 
problem with which the League of Nations has now to 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

dealj it may be well to recall to the reader's mind certain 
important circumstances and events which have com- 
bined to produce the present situation. Imprimis > it must 
be remembered that, at the beginning of the present 
century, the future of Manchuria depended, not on any- 
thing that China or the friendly Powers could do, but 
solely on Japan's willingness, or unwillingness, to 
acquiesce in Russia's unconcealed purpose of forceful 
expansion in that region. Japan, as we know, declined 
to acquiesce and eventually succeeded in compelling 
Russia to abandon, at any rate for the time beingy 
MouraviefPs dream of an Asiatic Empire on the Pacific 
seaboard. Five years later, making a common front 
against the American Government's attempt to 
'neutralise 3 the Manchurian railway system, for the 
preservation of the 'open door' principle, Russia and 
Japan entered into a formal alliance, which virtually 
sealed the fate of Manchuria and Mongolia and reduced 
the Treaty of Portsmouth to a dead letter. Having thus 
composed their differences, they proceeded, unopposed, 
to develop their respective spheres of interest by 
energetic measures of "peaceful penetration" and by 
processes which steadily undermined what was left of 
China's effective authority in those regions. The Chinese 
revolution (October, 1911) greatly accelerated the' pro- 
cesses of geographical gravitation, especially in Mon- 
golia. In January, 1912, the Russian Minister at Peking 
formally insisted, in a note addressed to the Chinese 
Government, on the "independence" of Northern 

Next, it behoves us to remember that, prior to the 
renewal of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance in July, 1911, 
Sir Edward Grey fiad publicly recognised the purport 

The Question of Manchuria 

of the Russo-Japanese entente and its immediate results. 
On June nth, 1910, he said in the House of Commons 
that H.M. Government recognised that "Russia and 
Japan had special interests in Mongolia and Man- 
churia." The uncompromising veto pronounced by 
Japan in the matter of the 1 proposed Anglo-American 
Chinchou-Aigun railway, and her subsequent refusal to 
submit the matter to arbitration at the Hague, afforded 
conclusive proof of her determination to prevent the 
establishment of any vested interests other than her own 
in South Manchuria. In this situation Great Britain and 
the United States tacitly acquiesced. 

With the Great War came the cessation of Russia's 
expansionist activities in the Far East. Her collapse in 
1917, and the consequent suspension of the entente of 
1910 with Japan, produced a new situation in Man- 
churia and Mongolia, which, because of the uncertainty 
of the future, created many new problems for Japan. 
So long as the final issue of the struggle in France re- 
mained in doubt? her policy aimed at taking advantage 
of the disorganised state of China, so as to extend and 
consolidate her position in South Manchuria and, in the 
event of Russia's complete debacle, to secure for her- 
self new coigns of vantage in Mongolia and Eastern 
Siberia. The means adopted to secure these ends, begin- 
ning with the "twenty-one demands" imposed upon 
China in May> 1915, were undeniably high-handed 
and morally reprehensible} to a certain extent they were 
also undoubtedly tentative 5 something, in fact, in the 
nature of a gambling insurance against the possibility of 
a German victory. When, after the war, a new alignment 
of the Powers in the Pacific region and the end of the 
Anglo-Japanese Alliance came to be envisaged by Japan, 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

a modification of her expansionist policy and of her 
relations with China were obviously indicated and 
recognised as necessary by her Elder Statesmen. Never- 
theless^ the attitude and arguments of her representa- 
tives at the Versailles Conference afforded conclusive 
evidence of the nation's unswerving determination to 
insist upon recognition of their "special interests" in 
Manchuria, if only as an equitable quid "pro quo for 
their tacit acquiescence in the British and American 
Asiatic Exclusion Acts. There had been evidence of the 
same determination in Viscount Ishii's Special Mission 
to the United States in 1917. When visiting Japan on 
the eve of the Washington Conference, I had occasion 
to discuss the subject with the leading men of all 
political parties.* I came away convinced that nothing 
short of decisive defeat in a life and death struggle 
would ever induce the nation's rulers to abandon 
their claims to a privileged position of economic and 
strategical advantage in Manchuria and Mongolia a 
conviction which the passing years have strengthened. 
During the war (in September, 1916), the American 
Government had intimated its intention to take up the 
questions of Shantung and Manchuria, and other 
matters arising out of the 'twenty-one demands/ with 
all the world Powers actually or tacitly committed to 
the "open door" policy. In 1920, in pursuance of this 
intention and in response to Young China's appeals, the 
State Department at Washington (supported, tant mal 
que lien, by Lord Curzon) attempted, through the 
medium of the international financial Consortium, to 
induce Japan to surrender her "special interests" to "the 
combined activities of an international Group," on the 

* Vide China, Japan and Korea, (Heinemann, 1921.) 


The Question of Manchuria 

plea that "the international position had been pro- 
foundly changed by the Peace Conference'^ and that 
former claims to spheres of influence were no longer 
admissible." A new era, it seemed, had dawned, and "a 
new start was to be made with a clean slate." The 
Japanese Ambassador's replies to Lord Curzon* con- 
cerning these Consortium proposals, indicated a desire 
to temporise and to avoid all contentious side-issues, 
while carefully refraining from any admission which 
might tend to prejudice or diminish Japan's position in 
the region under discussion. Lord Curzon's despatches 
were curiously lacking in the quality of conviction which 
usually characterised his utterances j he found himself 
indeed in an uncomfortable position between the deep 
sea of England's desire for friendship with America 
and the! devil of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. He could 
hardly expect the Japanese Government to admit that 
the proclamation of a "new era" by the exponents of 
international finance was sufficient to justify Great 
Britain in asking her ally to consent, either to the re- 
vision of the Shantung clauses of the Versailles Treaty, 
or to abandonment of her privileged position in Man- 
churia and Mongolia, that position having been re- 
peatedly recognised in the past. Nor could he expect 
the plea of a "New Era of harmonious co-operation" 
to be effective in persuading Japan to surrender a posi- 
tion which her rulers have consistently declared to be 
vital to her economic existence and national security, 
unless the Powers were prepared to admit the same plea 
in support of Japan's claim to "racial equality" and to 
abandon their Asiatic Exclusion Acts. 

The statesmen who subsequently represented Japan 

* Published in a Blue BooA, 1921. 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

at the Washington Conference were tactfulness itself on 
the subject of new eras and clean slates, but neither at 
that Conference nor at those subsequently held (1925) 
at Peking was anything said or done by them to justify 
the belief that Japan would ever voluntarily abandon 
her position in Manchuria on the contrary, everything 
in the utterances and attitude of Baron Shidehara at 
Washington justified the prediction that Japan would 
continue to develop her "special interests" with all the 
resources at her disposal, and to accelerate at every point 
her "peaceful penetration" into that field of economic 
activity which, as he frankly told the Conference, is 
vitally necessary to her national existence. Everything 
in the situation justified the further prediction that 
Japan would be materially assisted in that process of 
penetration by the venality of China's officials, which 
as will be shown hereafter proved to be the case. 

Throughout the period 1924 to 1928, the British and 
American Governments vied with each other in giving 
effect to the Washington policy of patient conciliation, 
and the Chinese y thus encouraged, became more and 
more insistent upon their own unilateral interpretation 
of the principles of racial equality and self-determina- 
tion. During this period Japan's attitude was concilia- 
tory but cautious j although China's right to tariff 
autonomy was recognised by all the other Powers during 
the letter half of 1928, Japan's treaty on the subject 
was not concluded until May, 1930. From June, 1924, 
till April, 1928, Baron Shidehara was Minister for 
Foreign Affairs at Tokyo and, in spite of the events 
which finally necessitated the despatch of a Japanese 
military expedition to Shantung^ his relations with the 
Nationalist Government were generally friendly. From 


The Question of Manchuria 

May, 1927, to July, 1929, Baron Tanaka y as Premier 
and Foreign Minister, adopted a less conciliatory and 
more positive policy, especially with regard to Man- 
churia. When, in the spring of 1928, a coalition between 
the northern war-lords, Yen and Feng, threatened the 
position of the Manchurian chieftain, Chang Tso-lin, 
the Japanese; Government despatched identical notes to 
Nanking and Peking announcing^ in the most emphatic 
terms, its determination not to permit any waging of 
China's civil wars within the boundaries of Manchuria. 
From that date onwards, despite the fall of the Tanaka 
Government in July, 1929, a gradual consolidation and 
increased assertion of Japan's "special interests" in 
Manchuria has taken place, coincident with evidence of 
an equal determination on the part of the Chinese to 
deny and annul these "interests" by invoking the' assist- 
ance of the League of Nations and the Government of 
the United States. The declaration, under Japanese 
auspices, of an independent Manchurian Republic, in 
March, 1932, was the predestined culmination of a 
policy which had never swerved from its declared 
objectives since the beginning of the century. As a fait 
accompli, it effectively precludes the possibility of any 
solution of the Manchurian problem such as was con- 
templated in 1931 by the Council of the League of 
Nations and its co-opted American advisers. 

Japan's recourse to military force in Manchuria has 
been generally condemned as a breach of the inter- 
national agreements recorded in the Covenant of the 
League and in the Kellogg Pact, and the League's inter- 
vention has been claimed by the Nanking Government 
ostensibly for the purpose of asserting and preserving 
the sanctity of those agreements. It is safe to predict 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

that in the logomachy which ensues upon the submission 
of the Lytton Commission's report to the' Council at 
Geneva^ there will be a renewal of the arguments set 
forth in Professor C. W. Young's monumental works 
on Japan's Special Position in Manchuria and The 
International Legal Status of the Kuantung Leased 
Territory; all very learned and legal. But in so far as 
Japan is concerned, the position is bound to remain pre- 
cisely as it was (though then unchallenged in detail by 
China) before and during the Washington Conference. 
If, coming down to the basic realities, we reduce the 
problem to its simplest expression, it must be apparent 
that the future of Manchuria depends to-day upon the 
acquiescence of the United States in Japan's conception 
of the scope and significance of her "special interests" 
in Manchuria, just as, in 1904, it depended upon Japan's 
willingness to allow Russia to control and exploit it. 

Meanwhile, however, it is of interest to consider how, 
and to what extent, Japan's military activities in Man- 
churia constitute a violation of the principles under- 
lying the Kellogg Peace Pact. On May I9th,. 1929, Sir 
Austen Chamberlain was careful to make it clear on be- 
half of Great Britain that the terms of this Pact ex- 
cluded "any action which a State may be forced to take 
in self-defence"; also he considered it advisable to re- 
mind Mr. Kellogg that "there are certain regions of the 
world, the welfare and integrity of which constitute a 
special and vital interest for our peace and safety. His 
Majesty's Government have been at pains to make it 
clear in the past that interference with those regions 
cannot be suffered." By a remarkable coincidence, on 
the day before this declaration was made, the Japanese 
military authorities in Manchuria had provided a 


The Question of Manchuria 

forcible illustration of the far-reaching significance of 
such reservations, by proclaiming their intention of pre- 
venting any Chinese armed forces^ whether victorious or 
defeated, from entering Manchuria. At the same time 
they announced their unwillingness to permit any inter- 
ference with this policy. 

Seldom has there been a more swift and dramatic 
exposition of the truth, that activity in the search f or 
formulas a,nd facts to ensure' the preservation of peace, 
is in itself a symptom and warning of latent causes of 
conflict. Seldom has there been a clearer demonstration 
of the futility of the panaceas of pacifism, when con- 
fronted with the stern realities which determine the 
policies of nations struggling for survival and a place 
in the sun. For here, at the very outset of civilisation's 
most imposing experiment in peace pacts, the world was 
confronted with the spectacle of one of its signatory 
States, constrained by its rulers' conception of 'self- 
defence' and vital necessity, to adopt measures which 
violate the de jure sovereign rights of a weaker State, 
and which, in their ultimate consequences, may well 
constitute a menace to the 'self-defence' programmes 
of others. We shall probably never know whether those 
who frame and guide Japan's ever-cautious statecraft, 
had any foreknowledge of the nature of Sir Austen 
Chamberlain's reply to Mr. Secretary Kellogg when 
they decided to close the Manchurian frontier to China's 
rabble armies. If not, the tenor of that reply must 
have come 33 a very grateful surprise, establishing, as 
it does, the 1 principle of non-interference in any region 
"whose welfare and integrity constitute a special and 
vital interest" for the signatory concerned. At no time 
since 1905 has the Japanese Government ever made any 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

concealment of its conviction that the protection of its 
special position of economic and strategical advantage 
in Manchuria is a matter of imperative necessity, also 
that it regards the validity of its rights and vested 
interests in that region as defensible, in the same manner 
and for the same reasons as Great Britain's position in 
Egypt or Gibraltar, or that of the United States in 
applying the Monroe doctrine to prevent the establish- 
ment of non-American interests in Central and South 

Prior to the events which culminated in the outbreak 
of hostilities at Mukden last year, Japan's attitude to- 
wards China, even during the Tanaka regime, was 
generally consistent with the Washington policy of 
patient conciliation and benevolent neutrality ; but (un- 
like that of Great Britain) it has always been tempered 
by a resolute refusal to surrender lawfully-established 
rights and interests to illegal violence. At no time 
during the last ten years had Japan anything to gain, 
and there was much to lose, by forcing the pace or by 
independent action. 

The position f of comparative isolation in which she 
found herself after the Washington Conference and the 
abrogation of the Anglo- Japanese Alliance 5 the post- 
war wealth and strength of the United States, and the 
rapidly increasing importance to that nation of the Far 
Eastern markets j the impossibility of any early renewal 
of the Russo-Japanese entente on satisfactory terms; 
and finally, the strain imposed upon her financial re- 
sources by the disastrous earthquake of 1923- all these 
were factors which, as a matter of necessity, imposed 
upon the rulers of Japan a period of watchful waiting 
and careful preparation, similar to those which had fol- 


The Question of Manchuria 

lowed upon the fall of the Shogunate in 1868, and the 
war with China in 1895. Moreover^ from the all- 
important commercial point of view, there was every 
reason to stretch the policy of conciliation to its farthest 
limits. At any date between 1925 and 1931, a very 
strong body of commercial and financial opinion would 
have brought its weight to bear upon any Cabinet which 
failed to do its utmost to cultivate the good-will of those 
elements in modern China's politics, upon which satis- 
factory trade relations depend. Therefore, in common 
with the other Treaty Powers, Japan was disposed to 
overlook and condone, without retaliation, on the 
Yangtze and elsewhere, the attacks which were made 
on her subjects and the frequent violation of their 
Treaty rights, so long as her position in Manchuria was 
not directly threatened. But on this vital point the 
Japanese authorities have been persistently frank in 
their warnings to all concerned. At the beginning of 
1928, for example, they announced thaty if the Chinese 
persisted in ignoring their agreements on matters 
affecting the South Manchurian Railway and other im- 
portant Japanese! interests, the Japanese Government 
might be compelled to remind Peking that "Manchuria 
does not form an integral part of China,"- and deal 
with it accordingly. Considering the frankness and the 
frequency of tljese warnings, it may safely be asserted 
that the Nationalist Government at Nanking would 
never have ventured to challenge Japan's position and 
claim to special interests in Manchuria, had they not 
been encouraged to do so by the well-me'aning but mis- 
guided sympathy accorded to their political aspirations 
in the United States, and on a smaller scale in Great 
Britain, by the die-hard school of self-determination and 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

by the earnest busybodies of the Institute of Pacific 

In protesting and appealing to the United States and 
to the League of Nations against Japan's assertion of 
her rights in the matter of railway construction in Man- 
churia, the Chinese Government was manifestly acting 
upon the classical principle of setting one barbarian 
against the other, in the hope of retrieving a position 
which, through sheer lack of honesty or courage or bothy 
has been definitely surrendered in more than one formal 
agreement. Inasmuch a,s this important but delicate 
aspect of the situation has never been seriously discussed 
at Geneva (although it lies at the very root of the inter- 
national problems with which the world is confronted, 
not only in Manchuria, but throughout China), it seems 
advisable to recall to our short-lived memories, certain 
f^cts connected therewith. At the Washington Confer- 
ence it was laid down, as a self-denying ordinance, bind- 
ing upon all the nine Powers concerned, that China's 
sovereign rights and the integrity of her territory must 
be respected and maintained. But it is a remarkable fact 
(attributable in great measure to the idealists who 
dominated the proceedings of that Conference and who 
now inspire! the activities of the League of Nations) 
that at no time, in all these years of solemn assemblies, 
has anyone ventured to raise the question, whether as a 
matter of practical politics any good purpose can be 
served by the Powers binding themselves to protect 
the sovereign rights of a nation, when the official class 
of that nation have repeatedly manifested their readi- 
ness to sell or pledge those sovereign rights, re- 
gardless of the welfare and dignity of their country. 
Throughout the many conferences that have been held 


The Question of Manchuria 

at Geneva since the present Manchurian dispute was re- 
ferred to the League^ there has been continual evidence 
of a disposition to examine and discuss all the legal 
aspects of Japan's special position in that region, 
coincident with her obligations as a member of the 
League. Many speeches have been made, and many 
volumes written by distinguished American publicists, 
all based on the broad assumption that China's relations 
with Japan are capable of being dealt with on generally 
accepted principles of international law. But in none of 
these will the earnest seeker after truth find any specific 
exposition of the fundamental fact, that the whole posi- 
tion of economic and political ascendancy which Japan 
has been enabled to build up in Manchuria since the 
Treaty of Portsmouth (1905) is largely due to the 
venal complicity of China's own officials. This is a hard 
saying, but it is the simple truth. 

The attitude of the highly-cultured diplomats who 
have advocated China's cause before the Council of the 
League, and that of the Nanking Government behind 
them, amounts to a general denial of Japan's position 
and rights, on the ground that the Treaties and agree- 
ments conferring these rights and special interests, were 
made in the past by high officials or government depart- 
ments, with whose methods the present-day Kuomintang 
Intellectuals are not in sympathy. In other words,, their 
attitude reflects, by implication, upon each and every 
government that has held office in China since the Man- 
churian question began to take form, except that which 
they themselves now represent. It is a line of argument 
for which they can find justification and good precedents 
in Western politics, but its general applicability has not 
yet been admitted, even at Geneva. The position there 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

adopted by Mr. Alfred S-ze and Dr. Yen is, that agree- 
ments, such as the supplementary clause to the Peking 
Treaty of 19055 or the concessions granted in return for 
the Nishihara loans, should no longer be regarded as 
binding upon the Chinese Government of to-day, inas- 
much as they were either wrongfully obtained by 
coercion, or corruptly negotiated, and that such things 
are no longer possible under the completely changed 
conditions of present-day China. The assumption is one 
which can be made to apply to almost every Treaty and 
thus reduce it to a scrap of paper j it has, in fact, been 
repeatedly invoked by the Kuomintang, in denouncing 
those Treaties which it chooses to regard as 'unequal, 3 
or in cases where it has good reason to believe that a 
policy of repudiation will not be unduly discouraged by 
other interested parties, inside and outside of the 
League. In the early days of the Republic, it was the 
fashion for Sun Yat-sen and his adherents to attribute 
Japan's ascendancy in Manchuria, and many other things 
derogatory to China's sovereign rights and dignity, to 
political abuses prevalent under the corrupt tyranny of 
the Manchus. As time went on, the Manchus having 
left the scene, it became the fashion for the advanced 
section of the Kuomintang to attribute all such un- 
pleasant things to the misgovernment of its political 
antagonists. Since 1921, the Cantonese element has 
always been particularly eloquent in denouncing the in- 
efficiency and corruption of its northern opponents. 

Such being the case, it may be well to set forth in 
brief outline the steps by which Japan's position of 
economic and political ascendancy in Manchuria has 
gradually been consolidated, with the connivance of 
high Chinese officials, since the beginning of the century. 


The Question of Manchuria 

The first of these steps, whereby China's sovereignty 
was curtailed and threatened with complete extinction 
in the three Eastern provinces, occurred in 1896. 
Shortly after the Japanese had been compelled to re- 
store the Liaotung Peninsula to China (as the result of 
force m&jewe brought to bear upon her by France, 
Russia and Germany), Russia, the villain of the piece, 
proceeded, first through her Minister at Peking, and 
later in negotiations between Li Hung-chang and 
Prince Lobanow in Moscow, to conclude a secret Treaty 
(3rd June, 1896) of alliance, whereby Russia secured 
the right to build her own railway through Northern 
Manchuria to Vladivostock, together with an under- 
taking that China would finance all future railways con- 
struction in that region through Russian banks only. It 
was said at the time that the Manchu Court (and 
particularly Li Lien-ying, the chief eunuch) had de- 
rived considerable financial advantages from this agree- 
ment} but the fact remains that it was carried to its 
conclusion by the greatest of China's Viceroys, and that, 
by common report current at the time throughout all 
China (subsequently confirmed by the memoirs of de 
Witte) he received a large douceur for his part in the 
transaction. From that date onward, by China's own 
voluntary action, a foreign power was empowered to 
exercise rights in Manchuria which definitely encroached 
upon the unrestricted exercise of her sovereignty in 
that region. On nth November, 1901, a secret agree- 
ment was made, again through Li Hung-chang, be- 
tween Russia and China, which gave the former com- 
plete control of Manchuria and the right to connect 
Port Arthur by railway with the Trans-Siberian line. 
Again, after the Russo-Japanese War,, when China's 

247 R 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

sovereign rights over the three provinces had been re- 
established, without cost to herself, by the Treaty of 
Portsmouth, it was the venality of a high Chinese 
official which again undermined and gave away these 
rights in the all-important matter of railway construc- 
tion. The corruption of Na Tung, Minister of Finance, 
who negotiated the Treaty which did so, was notorious 
through all China j but the fact remains that he was 
Minister of Finance and, in that capacity, invested with 
authority to make such agreements binding upon China. 
Again, in 1927, at a time when China could con- 
fidently rely upon a large measure of sympathy and 
support from other nations, because of the high-handed 
action adopted towards her by Japan in the matter of 
the "Twenty-one Demands," it was the cupidity and in- 
efficiency of the Chinese Government's representative 
officials (beginning with the Minister of Finance) 
which placed Japan in a position still further to 
dominate and develop the economic resources of Man- 
churia for her own national advantage. Broadly speak- 
ing, it may be said that, since the Revolution, every 
single one of the political groups which have come into 
power in China h^s been willing to permit Japan's en- 
croachments upon China's sovereignty in Manchuria, 
at a price which Japan has paid in subsidies and loans. 
In this respect, Sun Yat-sen himself was little better 
than Tuan Chi-jui and others of the pro-Japanese Anf u 
party, whom the patriots of Young China now so fer- 
vently denounce. It is pertinent to record the fact that 
in 1922, at the time of the Washington Conference, the' 
leaders of the Cantonese party had made common 
cause with the pro- Japanese faction in the North, just 
as, in 1931, the independent Military Government at 


The Question of Manchuria 

Canton entered into direct negotiations with Tokyo, 
under circumstances which evoked bitter accusations of 
treachery from the Nanking Government. 

In preserving a magisterial silence in regard to these 
matters, and by consenting to ignore their contributory 
effect to the actual situation in Manchuria, the Council 
of the League of Nations tacitly accepts at its face value 
the assurance of the diplomats and publicists, who now 
speak for the Nanking Government, when they assert 
that the methods of that Government are entirely 
different from those of all its predecessors. It has per- 
sistently done so and> as we have shown, has had the 
support of many powerful religious, educational and 
cultural societies in England and America. 

But, in so doing, the League has deliberately and 
repeatedly shut its eyes to realities which are gener- 
ally recognised by the Chinese themselves, except 
in their face-saving propaganda for foreign con- 
sumption. All China agrees that the corruption 
displayed by officialdom under the Kuomintang re- 
gime has been more flagrant and rapacious than any- 
thing hitherto known in the history of modern China. 
Dr. Hu Shih, one of the most notable modernist 
scholars in China, to-day, has quite recently declared, at 
some personal risk, that the habit of bribery is now 
universal in every branch of Chinese society and that, 
in the matter of administrative corruption, China leads 
the world. Every political party in power is freely 
denounced by its opponents for acts of maladministra- 
tion and for wholesale peculation of public funds, in 
terms more outspoken than anything known to the 
Board of Censors under the Manchus. Such being the 
the assumption which has hitherto influenced the 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

uncritical policy and determined the judicial attitude of 
the League of Nations is manifestly untenable. If any 
lasting settlement of the Manchurian problem is to be 
achieved, this assumption must be abandoned and the 
realities of the situation, including the consequences of 
the! dominant morality of China's official class, must 
be squarely faced. In other words, the Chinese 
Government must be given to understand that it is 
not in the power of the League of Nations, or any com- 
bination of the Powers, permanently to protect the 
sovereign rights of a country whose officials are pre- 
pared to sell, or otherwise sacrifice them. Such an 
intimation, politely but firmly conveyed to China's 
delegates at Geneva, would do far more good than any 
number of reports by committees of inquiry, on matters 
which, considered in this light^ are of comparatively 
minor importance. 

Such being the case, it would seem that the problem 
of Manchuria and indeed the problem of all China 
is one which can no longer be approached in the spirit 
of benevolent optimism hitherto displayed at Wash- 
ington and Geneva. No longer, as the Japanese 
Government has tersely put it, can the 1 civilised world 
continue its common consent of treating China as if that 
geographical expression connoted an organised Nation 
within the meaning of the League of Nations Covenant. 
"Fictions cannot last for ever," wrote 1 the Japanese 
Minister for Foreign Affairs to the President of the 
League Council on 23rd February, 1932, "nor can they 
be tolerated when they become grave sources of prac- 
tical danger. The time has inevitably come when 
realities, rather than fictions, must be reckoned with. 
The! general desire to see China happy, prosperous and 


The Question of Manchuria 

united, has led the world to treat her as united, in a 
way in which, in sober fact, she was not." Such being 
undoubtedly the case, it must be patent to every dis- 
passionate observer that, even if it were possible for 
the Powers in Council to devise some solution of ex- 
pediency for the present impasse, some formula 
whereby China and Japan might be persuaded to sink 
their immediate differences and co-operate on a modus 
vivendi of compromise, the crucial problem would 
merely be deferred, not solved, and Manchuria would 
still remain the "Cradle of Conflicts" to come* The 
Japanese Government's definite announcement to the 
League commission on I4th July, 1932, of its deter- 
mination to support the independence of the Man- 
chukuo Republic as an accomplished fact, "which must 
form the basis of all future arrangements", has con- 
fronted the League of Nations with a new situation^ but 
it leaves untouched the central problem which the Wash- 
ington Treaties professed to solve by their policy of non- 
interference and their benevolent support for China's 
experiments in self -determination. The world has still to 
face the problem of preserving the sovereign rights and 
integrity of a nation whose rulers have shown no sign 
of the constructive initiative requisite for removing the' 
causes of its own defenceless weakness. Henceforth, as 
the result of the decision taken by the Japanese Govern- 
ment, with the whole-hearted support of the Japanese 
people, the problem is once! more international, as it was 
in 1905, and the issue of the Manchurian question be- 
comes a matter dependent not on China, but on the 
attitude of the great Powers concerned beginning with 
that of the United States. 

Amongst observers well qualified to form an opinion, 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

there are many who believe that America can afford to 
remain faithful to the Nine Power Treaty and simply 
bide her time, for the reason that every extension of 
Japan's line of communications on the Asiatic mainland, 
every addition to the number of her vulnerable interests 
in Manchuria and Mongolia, brings her nearer to the 
day when her position will once more be challenged 
by Russia. There are competent observers who believe 
that this challenge will not be long delayed and that 
another Russo-Japanese war is likely to test Japan's 
resources and endurance far more severely than the last 
one.* The efficiency, and reliability in warfare of the 
Soviet's Red armies is largely an unknown factor^ but 
its technique is admittedly very different from that of 
the former Tzarist forces and has become essentially 
Russian in character. As regards the steadily increas- 
ing penetration of Russia into all the region bounded 
on the south by the Chinese Eastern Railway, there can 
be no question, nor any doubt as to the talent displayed 
by her administrators and leaders in bringing all kinds 
of alien elements peacefully under their rule. "The 
most significant quality of modern Russia," says Owen 
Lattimore, "is its extraordinary faculty of incorporat- 
ing alien populations within its own organism. For this 
reason the Russian advance into the East is even more 
important as a migration of ideas than it is as the move- 
ment of a people." Slowly and silently, for the last 
ten years, they have been penetrating into Chinese 
Turkestan, into Urianghai and Outer Mongolia.f From 
the Pamirs to the Pacific there is evidence of the age- 

* Vide Manchuria, Past, Present and Future. By Laurence Impey. 
English Review, July, 1931. 

f Manchuria, Cradle of Conflict. By Owen Lattimore. (Reproduced 
by permission of the publishers, the Macmillan Co,) 

The Question of Manchuria 

long imperative instinct of expansion eastwards, c the old 
shibboleth with new men to utter it' of establishing 
Russia's Eastern frontier on the Pacific, the final fulfil- 
ment of Mouravieff's dream. The pressure of Russia's 
penetration, and the steady increase of her influence 
throughout the Amur-Ussuri region, are undeniable and 
significant facts which, in the opinion of many reliable 
observers, must sooner or later assert themselves on the 
Manchurian frontier and end in a renewal of the 
struggle with Dai Nippon. Others, having regard 
rather to the political and economic difficulties of the 
Soviet's government, incline to the belief that, as in 
1907-1910, Russia will conclude an offensive and de- 
f ensivd entente with Japan, leaving each nation free to 
consolidate its influence and interests within its own 
sphere of influence, and that these spheres will be 
sufficiently wide to keep both nations busily employed 
for years to come, China being reduced, as before, to 
the position of a helpless spectator. If history be a safe 
guide, the prospect of a Russo-Japanese agreement to 
divide the spoils would appear to be more probable than 
another war. 

On the other hand, America's growing perception of 
the potential importance of the Far Eastern markets 
to her future 1 trade, combined with vague fears that 
Japanese domination over Manchuria, if not checked, 
might enable her to challenge American supremacy on 
the Pacific, constitutes a factor in the Far Eastern 
problem which has acquired steadily increasing signifi- 
cance since 1905. It constitutes, indeed, the ultimate 
crux of the problem^ regarded internationally, inasmuch 
as it represents an irreconcilable difference of instincts 
and interests between two powerful nations j a differ- 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

ence not only of political ideals and methods, but of 
vital realities, created by the' economic laws which, in 
the end, determine the destinies of nations. It is a 
difference of no new or sudden growth} it was forcibly 
impressed upon the political consciousness of both 
nations by the building of the Panama Canal (1914) 
and still more emphatically by the proceedings of the 
Washington Conference. As Mr. Frank Simonds 
pointed out at an early stage of those proceedings, the 
policy then adopted by the United States involved not 
only the assertion of a moral guardianship over China, 
but a course! of action definitely committed to limiting 
Japanese! expansion in the only direction which the 
modern world has left open to it, "a policy which 
according to every historical precedent, must inevitably 
lead to war." 

Japan's definite declaration concerning her position 
and policy in Manchuria, considered in conjunction with 
Mr. Secretary Stimson's definition of America's posi- 
tion on 24th February, reveals the position of the two 
Powers a.s an impasse not likely to be solved by any 
formula which LordLytton's commission maypropound. 
Given to the world within a few hours of the publication 
of the Japanese Government's reply to the League's 
Committee of Twelve, Mr. Stimson's letter to Mr. Borah 
(Chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Com- 
mittee) placed it on record that the situation which had 
then been created by Japan's military measures in Man- 
churia and at Shanghai, was one "which could not under 
any circumstances be reconciled with the obligations of 
the covenants" of the Nine-Power Treaty and the 
Kellogg pact, and that "if the Treaties had been faith- 
fully observed, such a situation could not have arisen." 

The Question of Manchuria 

Furthermore, with reference to his earlier note (yth 
January), in which China and Japan were warned that 
the United States would "not recognise any situation, 
treaty or agreement entered into by those governments 
in violation of treaties," Mr. Stimson expressed the 
belief that if a similar course were adopted by the other 
governments of the world, 

"a caveat would be placed upon such action which, we 
believe, will effectively bar the legality of any title or right 
sought to be obtained by pressure or treaty violation, and 
which, as has been shown by history in the past, will eventu- 
ally lead to the restoration to China of the rights and titles 
of which she may have been deprived." Finally, he observed 
that "no one of the Washington Treaties can be disregarded 
without disturbing the general understanding and equili- 
brium which were intended to be accomplished and effected 
by the group of agreements arrived at in their entirety." . . . 
"The willingness of the American Government to surrender 
its then commanding lead in battleship construction and to 
leave its position at Guam and in the Philippines without 
further fortification, was predicated upon among other things, 
the self-denying covenants contained in the Nine-Power 
Treaty, which assured the nations of the world not only of 
an equal opportunity for their Eastern trade, but also against 
the military aggrandisement of any other Power at the ex- 
pense of China." 

The Japanese position, as laid down in its note 
addressed to the League of Nations on 23rd February, 
amounts to an assertion that, as the Nine-Power Treaty 
was based on assumptions which have 1 been proved to 
be false, any present-day appeals to its provisions are 
mere "formalism and theory." An anomalous state of 
affairs has actually developed in China, they say, during 
the past ten years, "which cannot but profoundly 
modify the application to Chinese affairs of the Cove- 
nant of the League." They now deny, in effect, the 
truth of the postulate on which the Nine-Power Treaty 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

was based, and which Mr. Stimson reiterates, viz., that 
"China is engaged in an attempt to develop the free 
institutions of a self-governing Republic," and assert 
that, on the contrary, the country being ruled by 
"various rudimentary nuclei of organisation," the time 
has come to deal with it on a footing of facts and reality, 
the central fact being that "China does not constitute 1 an 
organised people." 

Impartially considered, there can be, I think, no 
doubt that, as regards the actual state of China, the 
Japanese position is nearer than the American to the 
realities, ^nd that the idea of China attempting to 
develop "the free institutions of a self-governing Re- 
public" could never have been conceived or seriously 
maintained by any statesman with direct experience of 
Asia and the Asiatics. The only government that the 
Chinese people will ever recognise and respect is that of 
strong centra,! and provincial authorities, possessed of 
a, firmly-established executive. Elected assemblies and 
democratic institutions are wholly inapplicable, because 
unintelligible, to the race-mind of Asia, 

Moreover y there can be but little doubt that, re- 
garded as a world problem, the preservation of China's 
integrity and sovereignty is not to be achieved by inter- 
national pacts: it must depend, in the long run, upon 
her own efforts and upon the gradual development of 
a real force of public opinion, which shall demand, not 
free institutions, but a systematic reform of the execu- 
tive's administration. Pending the appearance on the 
scene of a ruler, or groups of rulers, capable of educat- 
ing (or compelling) the nation to such a conception of 
patriotism, China's loosely-held dependencies will con- 
tinue to be absorbed by the inevitable process <?f 

The Question of Manchuria 

economic and geographical gravitation which began in 
the middle of the nineteenth century., although the pro- 
cess itself may occasionally be checked or suspended, 
by reason of the rivalries and conflicts of the several 
claimants to reversion of her defenceless estate'. 

The reader will have observed that, in reviewing the 
course of events which has led to the present situation 
in Manchuria, no attempt has been made to question the 
validity of the assumption underlying Japan's unchang- 
ing policy, namely, that the maintenance of her position 
of economic and strategic ascendancy in that region is 
a matter of necessity, to be defended at all costs. 
We have been concerned only with the realities of 
the case, and there is no denying that the uncon- 
cealed policy of Japan's rulers for the past fifty years 
has been consistently based upon their belief that the 
nation's security and economic existence would be 
jeopardised by abandoning that position. The creation 
of the thinly-disguised Japanese protectorate, function- 
ing as the independent Republican Government of 
Manchukuo, is the logical and inevitable result of the 
critical situation created by the aggressive proceedings of 
the Kuomintang politicians, supported by the misguided 
activities of the League of Nations, By these, and by 
the increasing pressure of public opinion in Japan, 
visibly perturbed by the evidences of widespread 
economic distress, the process of geographical gravita- 
tion has been greatly accelerated and the Government at 
Tokyo has been impelled to make drastic and immediate 
a course of action which might otherwise have been one 
of peaceful penetration. 

In spite of the general unanimity which prevails in 
Japan on this subject, a small but increasing body of 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

public opinion now perceives thatj even if Dai Nippon 
has her way in Manchuria, the nation's fundamental 
problem of overpopulation cannot be permanently or 
materially affected by any relief which this solution may 
afford. Indeed, there are Liberal thinkers, such as Yukio 
Ozaki, who assert (at no little personal risk) that the 
new programme of expansion on the Asiatic mainland is 
likely to aggravate, rather than to diminish, the diffi- 
culties and dangers of Japan's economic and financial 
position. They realise that public opinion, diverted 
from anxious consideration of the parlous plight of the 
agrarian population, has been led to hope that a for- 
ward policy in Manchuria may in some measure relieve 
it; and, forced by the growing pressure of that opinion, 
the government has now taken steps from which it could 
not, if he would, recede. Nevertheless, amongst the 
c Old Heads/ the more thoughtful and far seeing 
elements of Japan's political world,, there are some who 
perceive grave danger in pursuing the policy of self- 
determination proclaimed by Mr. Kaku Mori and the 
Military Staff, and who doubt whether Japan can hope 
to derive from Manchuria benefits to her trade and 
industries, sufficient to compensate her for the cost of 
this great adventure. "Also they ask whether Japan's 
paramount interests of foreign trade, and particularly 
trade with China, are not likely to suffer to an extent 
which will outweigh all the 1 advantages to be derived 
from the Manchurian protectorate. For the moment, 
however, their voices are almost inaudible, and the 
ardent spirits of the military clans dominate the situation 
with their slogan of "Back to Asia" and a Japanese 
Monroe doctrine for the Far East. But, if history is a 
safe guide, the cautious wisdom of the "Elder States- 


The Question of Manchuria 

men" is likely to assert itself, in due course, as it has 
always done in similar crises of the past. 

Politics apart, however, the problem of Manchuria, 
whether we! regard it from the Chinese or the Japanese 
point of view, is essentially subsidiary, symptomatic of 
chronic conditions whichy in each case, though in very 
different ways, are the result of the tendency of the 
race to increase more rapidly than the nation's maximum 
food supply. If, as the Japanese Minister of Foreign 
Affairs declares, the time has to come to reckon with 
realities, the rulers of Dai Nippon must face the reality 
that an annual increase of a million in the number of 
mouths to be fed, constitutes a problem which can neither 
be solved by a policy of expansion on the Asiatic main- 
land, nor by the scientific development of Manchuria's 
resources. Large scale emigration to these regions they 
know to be impracticable} they cannot hope to com- 
pete successfully with the Chinese either as traders or 
agriculturists. Their superior organisation in the field 
of modern industry may serve for a time to provide 
raw materials and food supplies for their industrial 
population and afford some relief for the desperate 
condition of their peasantry, but in the long run they 
will find that the race 1 is not to the swift nor the battle 
to the strong. Nothing but Exclusion Acts, fordbly 
applied, can ever stem the tide of China's surplus 
millions, steadily, silently flowing into the sparsely in- 
habited regions of Manchuria, Mongolia and eastern 
Siberia,, and whether it be at farming^ manual labour, 
or trade, the Chinese can produce better work, at a 
lower cost, than the Japanese. Every colony of the 
Western Powers east of the Indian Ocean bears wit- 
ness to the truth that, given anything like equal oppor- 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

tunity, the wealth of the region becomes theirs j they 
can outwork and under-live every race on earth. Japan 
may be justified in regarding the maintenance of her 
position of economic and strategic advantage in Man- 
churia as a matter of vital necessity} she may succeed 
in consolidating her political and administrative control 
of these undeveloped regions and, as before, arrive at 
an understanding with Russia in regard to her sphere 
of expansion} but in the end, the Chinese will inherit 
the land, and in the meanwhile Japan's fundamental 
problem of over-population, the root cause of this in- 
stinctive urge towards expansion, remains unsolved. 
Regarded in its true aspect, as a sociological problem, 
there would seem to be no prospect of its solution, nor 
any hope of permanent relief from the economic pres- 
sure which arises from it, until the collective 1 intelli- 
gence of the race has learned (as Mill puts it) "to bring 
the increase of its population under the deliberate 
guidance! of judicious foresight." 

The Japanese are much more likely than the Chinese 
to learn in the near future to recognise in their high 
birth-rate the primary cause' of their economic dis- 
abilities and political discontents, because their race- 
mind is not so deeply rooted in the past and because 
their collective intelligence, more highly organised and 
better educated, loyally accepts 'deliberate guidance 1 
when it speaks with the voice of Imperial authority. On 
thd other hand, the consequences of the pressure of 
over population are more serious for Japan, and for 
the peace of the world^ than they are for the self- 
sufficient Chinese, for the reason that it is in the nature 
of the Chinese to accept their calamities with passive 
resignation, whereas the Japanese 1 , not being thus con- 


The Question of Manchuria 

stitutedj are impelled to seek relief at the expense of 
their neighbours as Manchuria bears witness to-day. 
But there are evidently limits to the remedial policy of 
territorial expansion, and if these limits should be 
reached before the nation has learned to control its 
birth-rate, the penalties for its lack of judicious fore- 
sight are likely to prove cumulative. 




"The religion of enmity in its unqualified form is as inde- 
fensible as the religion of amity in its unqualified form. 
Each proves itself to be one of those insane extremes out of 
which there comes a sane mean by union with its opposite." 
Herbert Spencer. (Study of Sociology.) 

So many of the League's best chickens are now coming 
home,, in grievous plight, to roost, and their cackling 
is so perturbed, that the nervous apprehension mani- 
fested by the guardians of the Geneva poulailler is 
hardly matter for surprise. What with the possibility 
of Germany's leaving the League, if thwarted in the 1 
matter of her demand for equality of armaments, the 
severe loss of prestige incurred by reason of several 
defaults in Geneva's guaranteed loans,, and now the 
hydra-headed dilemma, with which they are now con- 
fronted in the impending debate on the Lytton Com- 
mission Report on Manchuria, the League's most 
fervent sponsors and faithful servants may well feel 
anxious 5 the difficulties and dangers ahead are undeni- 
able. At the same time, were it not for the parlous 
condition of the whole world's affairs, a philosophic 
observer might detect a certain element of grim humour 
in the turn which the human comedy has lately taken 
at Geneva. If there were place or scope in present-day 
politics for the comic muse, the spectacle of Mr. de 
Valera, solemnly lecturing Dai Nippon on the subject 
of the sanctity of Treaties, might well have added to 
the gaiety of nations. But the 1 high priests of inter- 
nationalism are compelled to take themselves very 


Geneva and the Far East 

seriously $ on pnce sons rire dans le Pdais des Nations. 
Every delegate in the Assembly, every member of the 
Secretariat, must therefore applaud the Irish Presi- 
dent's appearance on the scene as a staunch upholder 
of Covenants and pacts j all must concur in his belief 
that "the League's testing time has come" and that 
"without progressive disarmament [face the I.R.A.], it 
was almost impossible that the League should survive." 
Even that consistently optimistic believer in the benefits 
of pacific internationalism, Mr. Wickhain Steed, has 
lately been led to perceive that "the severest crisis of 
the League is at hand, and with it, soon or late, the 
decision of Peace or War"j in his opinion, however, 
Germany's claim to equality in armaments is of less 
importance than the Far Eastern conflict and the prob- 
lem of Manchuria. 

It is interesting at this juncture to compare Mr. 
Steed's proposed solution of the dispute with that 
suggested by Mr. de Valera. In the Irish President's 
opinion, "it is the duty of statesmen to face the present 
desperate situation, not as representatives of States or 
parties or special interests, but as men who realise that 
the primary duty of statesmen is to plan for the well- 
being and happiness of their fellows." Mr. Steed is 
more disposed to examine the practical bearings of 
political formulas, and more familiar with the whisper- 
ings of Geneva's coulisses. He proposes to deal with the 
crisis by telling Japan that: 

"we (that is, Great Britain) hold to the League and the 
Kellogg Pact and that we cannot suffer the Lytton Report to 
be treated as still-born. We shall concert our policy with the 
United States and France and welcome the support of all 
other nations that may be of our mind." 

Students of history can hardly fail to observe that this 

263 s 

CHINA: The Pity o It 

suggested 'peace policy/ intended as a remedy for 
Japan's undeniably forceful measures and expansionist 
policy in Manchuria, coincides in a remarkable manner 
with the policy of the State Department at Washington, 
as set forth in recent pourparlers by Senator Reed in 
Paris j moreover, that the procedure which it proposes 
namely, united action by England,- the United States 
and France, to bring diplomatic pressure to bear on 
Japan, independently of the League is identical in 
method and purpose with that which was adopted by 
Germany, Russia and France', when they compelled 
Japan to abandon the 1 spoils of war in 1895, and inci- 
dentally laid the foundations- of the Anglo- Japanese 
alliance. It is worthy of note that a solution of the 
Manchurian question on the lines now proposed by Mr. 
Steed (involving, in effect, a return to the regime of 
offensive and defensive alliances) was discreetly dis- 
cussed at Geneva some time before the publication of 
the Lytton Report j it is therefore not surprising to find 
that, in the words of The. Times correspondent at 
Washington, the American Government should have 
derived "very real satisfaction" from the findings of the 
Commission and that, at the beginning of October,, the 
State Department should have felt convinced, that, with 
the publication of the Report, there was, at last,, a 
reasonable prospect of united action with France and 
Great Britain, to "block Japanese aggression." 

In their zeal to apply the principles of the League 
Covenant and the Briand-Keliogg Pact to the affairs 
of Asia, the exponents of international pacifism at 
Geneva have cheerfully invoked the aid of the United 
States, but in so doing they have finally demonstrated 
the helpless insufficiency of the League as an effec- 


Geneva and the Far East 

tive observer of the world's peace. For it must be 
obvious that an alliance, organised, on the strength 
of the Lytton Report, to include the most powerful 
non-member of the League, for the purpose of apply- 
ing minatory pressure to Japan, must inevitably 
produce, as its first result, the withdrawal of Japan 
from the League. In that eventy none of the three 
great nations chiefly interested in the question of 
Manchuria being parties to the Covenant, no valid 
ground could be adduced for Geneva's further inter- 
vention in Far Eastern affairs. Those who direct the 
political activities of the Council of the League would 
appear to have? been curiously lacking in intelligent 
anticipation, if they failed to foresee that this must be 
the immediate result of their latest attempt to apply the 
principles of the Washington Treaties and the Kellogg 
Pact to the solution of China's problems,, in the present 
condition of that country. They must also be lacking 
in perception of the basic facts of the situation if 
at any time since the Washington Conference (where 
Japan made her position quite clear), they have seri- 
ously believed that Japan can possibly be induced to 
abandon her position of predominance in Manchuria by 
any argument other than that of superior force j in 
other words, by the arbitrament of war. 

Here let me digress to observe that the group of 
pacifist Intellectuals, which has recently launched the 
New Commonwealth as the latest organ of international- 
ism in this country, has recently come to the significant 
conclusion that "the Sino- Japanese affair has laid bare 
the inadequacy of existing machinery for the prevention 
of warj 3 ' they are therefore inclined to revert to the 
ideas which Viscount Grey expressed on this subject at 


C H I N A : The Pity of It 

the time of the formation of the League in 1918, and 
to advocate something like the original programme of 
the League of Nations' Union. Therein, it will be 
remembered, it was proposed to create a Supreme Court, 
which, with the aid of an international Police Force, 
would "maintain international order and thus finally 
liberate mankind from the curse of war." "I do not 
see," said Viscount Grey in October, 1918, "why the 
League of Nations, once formed, should necessarily be 
idle, why it should not be arranged for an authoritative 
and international force to be at its disposal, which 
should act as police in individual countries." Sir 
Norman Angell, Professor Gilbert Murray and their 
associates in the New Commonwealth are now convinced 
that "power to restrain a law-breaker, and a system of 
Courts to which dl disputes can be taken," are essential 
features of the new dispensation which they envisage. 

"Any diplomatic demarche, such as the withdrawing of Am- 
bassadors, even an economic and financial boycott (premised 
for just such an emergency as the Manchurian case by 
Article XVI of the Covenant) was admittedly impracticable, 
in default of agreement in advance to enforce the collective 
will of the international society, should force be required." 

In other words, the present collective system of Treaties 
and agreements, abjuring war as an instrument of 
national policy, is now recognised to be inadequate for 
the purposes which it was intended to serve, for the 
reason that it possesses no means of applying the collec- 
tive coercion implicit in the Covenant. 

It is not my present purpose to consider the implica- 
tions and possible results of an organised attempt, by any 
group of Powers, to apply coercion to Japan in defence 
of China's "sovereign rights and administrative in- 
tegrity" in Manchuria. Nor would it serve any useful 


Geneva and the Far East 

purpose to discuss the nature, size and cost of the inter- 
national Police Force 1 which the League would have to 
provide in order to be able to impose its collective will 
upon any one of the great Powers (the United States, 
for example, or Russia) in the by no means incon- 
ceivable event of its refusal to accept a decision of the 
international Supreme Court, in a matter where the 
national honour might consider itself involved. Neither 
of these ideas is likely to become practical politics for 
some time to come. On the other hand, it is increasingly 
evident that many of the leading spirits of the inter- 
national school of thought in this country are iiow 
disposed to forsake the Covenant of the' League and 
the Kellogg Pact, as regulators and pacifiers of the 
world's affairs, and to substitute for them a limited 
League of the kind which the American Committee on 
Foreign Relations defined (and rejected) in 1918, as a 
"limited association between the United States and the 
British Empire for the policing of the world."* As a 
solution of the peace-preserving problem, this is hardly 
calculated to arouse much enthusiasm at Geneva j nor is 
it likely to commend itself to those European statesmen 
who realise that America's intervention in the Man- 
churian dispute, as an upholder of the Kellogg Pact, is 
wholly consistent with America's traditional policy in 
the region of the Pacific, and protective of purely 

* Professor Alfred Zimmern, in an article dealing with the Lytton 
Report (News-Letter, i5th Oct., 1932), adopts a distinctly bellicose tone, 
in support of this new pacifist solution. After discussing the possibility 
that Japan may refuse to abandon her 'accomplished fact* in Manchuria, 
he observes that her position, in that event, would become intolerable 
and untenable, at Geneva, "and the association of the British Common- 
" wealth and the United States in the Pacific, implicit in the Washington 
"Treaties which replaced the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, would become 
"plainly apparent. The English-speaking peoples dislike discussing sanc- 
"tions. But face to face with a definite emergency, they have a way of 
"discovering that the resources of civilisation are not exhausted/' 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

American interests j in France, especially, its value must 
be diminished by the 1 fact that, despite Mr. Stimson's 
eloquent contention that the Pact has definitely abol- 
ished the 'doctrine of neutrality/ President Hoover can 
still regard Germany's claim to equality in the matter of 
armaments as a question "of solely European concern." 
Leaving these speculations in high politics, let us now 
consider briefly the principal results of the Lytton Com- 
mission of Enquiry and the nature of the situation with 
which the Council of the League will have to deal 
when the Japanese Government's reply is presented at 
Geneva in November. Generally speaking, the Report 
may be said to have enjoyed a good Press in this country, 
at Geneva and in the 1 United States, public opinion being 
naturally disposed to regard discussion of its findings 
as sub judice in matters of detail, and to be concerned 
rather with the spirit than with the letter of its conclu- 
sions. The Commission has undoubtedly performed 
a difficult and delicate task with ability, courage, and 
tact} and the result of its findings^ all instinct with the 
spirit of patient conciliation and reasonable compromise, 
are manifestly intended to provide a solution of the 
Manchurian problem which, letting byegones be bye- 
gones, shall regularise the new autonomy of the Three 
Provinces, by means of legislative and administrative 
measures, designed to give Japan the 1 economic and 
political security she demands, and at the same time to 
preserve the effective sovereignty of China in that 
region. The fact that such a solution is utterly imprac- 
ticable need not deprive the Commission of the credit 
of having done their best to devise a formula which 
might invest it with the appearance of practicability. 
The ten constructive recommendations which follow the 


Geneva and the Far East 

Commission's general survey of the situation,, are all 
undeniably fair-minded and well-meant, whilst its 
specific proposal that China and Japan should agree to 
take part in another c advisory Conference/ with the 
assistance of neutral observers, conforms to Geneva's 
traditional procedure in such emergencies. Critically 
considered as a whole, however, the Report offers no 
prospect of a solution of the Manchurian problem, for 
the reason that, by the very nature of its mandate, it 
was compelled to overlook certain paramount realities 
of the quarrel between China and Japan 5 its proceedings 
were therefore pervaded by the same atmosphere of un- 
reality which has persistently stultified all the delibera- 
tions of the League on Far Eastern affairs. The Com- 
mission^ deriving its mandate from the League, has 
been compelled to assume the possibility of applying 
the Covenant, the Kellogg Pact and the Washington 
Treaties to China, whereas, under existing conditions 
(as Count Uchida recently declared), these instruments 
do not, and cannot, provide a solution of China's differ- 
ences with other nations. As the Japanese Foreign 
Minister has pointed out, the realities of the problem 
are recognised in practice by the Powers chiefly con- 
cerned, inasmuch as they are compelled to maintain 
naval and military forces in China, for the security of 
their nationals and the protection of their commercial 
interests. In a speech addressed to the Diet on 24th 
August, Count Uchida observed that 

"it has been the practice of the Powers, demonstrated on 
innumerable occasions, to repair or prevent injuries to their 
important rights and interests in China, by direct applica- 
tion of force, without relying upon these instruments ot 



CHINA: The Pity of It 

This statement is undeniably true and the issue which 
therefore confronts the League (as the Japanese see 
it) is whether, the use of force being admittedly neces- 
sary under existing conditions, Japan has exercised it in 
excess of the reasonable requirements of her legitimate 
position. Broadly speaking, the Commission's Report 
evades this important aspect of the problem, and 
the fact that the present condition of China makes it 
impossible to apply there the peace-preserving mach- 
inery of the Kellogg Pact. In this connection, it is only 
fair to remember, that the unavoidable difficulty of the 
position in which the Commission found itself y must be 
regarded as a direct legacy from the unpractical idealism 
of the Washington agreements, a direct result of the 
unfounded assumption that a politically disorganised 
Asiatic State could be admitted, on terms of absolute 
equality, to participate in the. responsibilities and benefits 
of the international pacts designed by the Powers as 
safeguards for the peace of a civilised world. 

Conforming to this idealism, the Report of the 
Lytton Commission submits a number of theoretically 
admirable recommendations which, in practice, become 
mere counsels of perfection, by reason of their insistence 
upon observance of the basic principles of the Washing- 
ton Pacts, When for example, it suggests that com- 
mercial relations between China and Japan can be 
placed upon an equitable basis by a new Commercial 
Treaty, or that the results of the proposed 'advisory 
Conference' should hereafter be embodied in "a declara- 
tion by the Government of China constituting a special 
regime for the three Eastern Provinces, to be followed 
by a Treaty of conciliation,, arbitration, non-aggression 
and mutual assistance," it simply ignores the funda- 


Geneva and the Far East 

mental truth that there does not exist in China any 
government, nor any immediate prospect of a govern- 
ment, capable of fulfilling its obligations under any 
such Treaties. True, the Commission recommends 
"temporary international co-operation in internal re- 
construction," as a remedy for "the present political 
instability of China," but it fails to recognise the domi- 
nant fact that, pending the necessarily long process of 
this reconstruction, China cannot be regarded as an 
organised State, within the meaning of the Covenant of 
the League j nor does it realise that the measures taken 
by Japan to defend her interests in Manchuria and at 
Shanghai, have been to a considerable extent a direct 
result of the Kuomintang's belief that, under the pro- 
tection of the Washington Pacts,, it could maintain a 
policy of hostile and provocative acts without fear of 

Again, in suggesting that internal order in Manchuria 
should be secured by means of a local gendarmerie, 
which should be the only armed force within the terri- 
tory y the Commission doubtless intended to propose a 
reasonable form of compromise, whereby Japan's econo- 
mic interests might be preserved without undue loss 
of 'face 5 to China. But when they went on to advise 
that "two foreigners of different nationalities should be 
appointed under the League, to have supervision of the 
constabulary and fiscal administration," they ignored the 
crucial fact that Japan has repeatedly declared her 
unwillingness to accept any such solution and that, in 
the present temper of the nation, any attempt to insist 
upon its application can only lead to hostilities. 

The appointment of the Lytton Commission was 
essentially a time-saving device, adopted by the League 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

as a possible means of escape from an embarrassing 
situation, which was largely the result of its own ignor- 
ance of, or indifference to, the actual condition of 
China. The problem with which the Commission was 
confronted, involved not only the restoration of "the 
good understanding upon which peace depends between 
China and Japan," but the continued validity of the 
Covenant and its peace-making machinery. Charged 
with the duty of "reporting to the Council on any cir- 
cumstances which, affecting international relations, 
threaten to disturb peace between China and Japan," the 
Commission was handicapped from the outset in the 
performance of that duty, by the knowledge that any 
solution which it might propose,, must conform to the 
principles of the Pact of Paris and the Nine-Power 
Treaty. It was therefore compelled to continue to 
regard China as an organised State, capable of fulfil- 
ling her obligations under these pacts. At the same' time, 
Lord Lytton and his colleagues were well aware, that 
the League's endeavours to preserve the world's con- 
fidence in the efficacy of the Covenant in the Far East, 
depend cm fond upon the undetermined policies of the 
two nations the United States and Russia which 
are not parties to the Covenant. Its findings were there- 
fore necessarily expressed in resolutions that are ulti- 
mately dependent for their validity upon forces and 
influences beyond the control of the League. From all 
of which it may fairly be concluded, that the League 
would have been better advised had it refrained from 
intervening in the affairs of the Far East and allowed 
the solution of the' Manchurian problem to be under- 
taken by the Powers signatory to the Kellogg Pact and 
the Washington Treaties. Ne sutor ultra crepdam. 




EVER since Sun Yat-sen, that restless dreamer in quest 
of power, called in the help of Soviet Russia in 1924 
to enable him to overthrow the northern warlords, a 
great deal has been written and spoken concerning the 
alleged growth of Communism in China and the possi- 
bility of the Republic framing its political and social 
institutions on the Muscovite model. Even the 
Japanese, who from their long and intimate experience 
of things Chinese, understand their nature better than 
most other nations, have lately began to show signs of 
apprehension at the growth and increasingly efficient 
organisation of the "Red" armies, which have' imposed 
their authority in various districts of southern and 
Central China,, and set up the frame-work of a Soviet 
form of government in Kiangsi and Fukien. Whether 
this apprehension be genuine or assumed, is hard to say, 
but it certainly figures with increasing frequency in the 
Japanese Press. A pamphlet recently published, under 
official auspices at Tokyo^ takes the matter very seri- 
ously. It describes the origins of the Chinese Com- 
munist party, the relations between it and the Russian 
Government, the extending area of the "Red" armies' 
activities, and the effect of their Soviet methods of 
administration upon the masses of the population. The 
writers of this pamphlet consider it unlikely that the 
present government of China can ever become strong 
enough to make an end of these Red armies and that, 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

should they increase and extend sufficiently to establish 
direct geographical contact with the Russian forces on 
the borders of Siberia, outer Mongolia or Turkestan., 
the sovietisation of all China is by no means beyond 
the bounds of possibility. They profess to regard with 
anxiety thd possible combination of a Red China dis- 
posing of 400 million inhabitants and vast resources, 
with Soviet Russia, controlling a sixth of the earth's sur- 
face, and they see in it a real menace a Red Peril 
to the rest of the world, and especially to the security 
of Japan. 

Amongst the facts and figures set forth in this pam- 
phlet there appears a report, issued by the Chinese 
Communist party, which puts the total strength of the 
Red armies in April, 1930, at 79,000 men, of whom 
50,000 were armed with rifles. Since then, as the result 
of the failure of Chiang Kai-shek's three punitive cam- 
paigns in 1931, and of desertions en masse from 
Government forces to the Red armies, the numbers of 
the insurgents would seem to have considerably in- 
creased, and their spheres of influence expanded. In 
January, 1932, according to Chinese Press reports, their 
predatory activities extended over large areas in seven 
provinces. On the South Honan border their forces, 
sometimes described as Communist and sometimes as 
bandits, amounted to 40,000 men. In Hupeh, according 
to the same reports, the number of people killed in 
'Communist' raids since 1930 amounted to 164,0005 
nearly a million more had abandoned their homes and 
78,000 were being held to ransom. Except in a few 
settled "Soviet areas" in Kuangtung, Kiangsi and 
Fukien, these Red armies have no definitely fixed terri- 
tories under their control} they consist of mobile forces, 


Is There a Red Peril in China? 

with headquarters and places of retreat usually located 
in the mountains. So soon as the Government forces 
have been ^driven out of any important district, the 
Communist political party, consisting largely of 
Russian and Chinese agents of the Comintern, sends 
its representatives to organise a political department 
for the Red army concerned, and so to direct its raids, 
that they may serve the purposes of Communist propa- 
ganda and lay the foundations of their administrative 
organisation. Thus the proceedings of these armies, in 
the territories and cities which they occupy, are 
frequently of a nature to give them a status superior 
to that of ordinary bandits j under the influence of their 
political department, unmistakably inspired, if not 
directed^ from Moscow, they reveal constructive, as 
well as destructive, activities. A locality having been 
occupied in force, the propaganda agents proceed, by 
means of Communist slogans and mass meetings, to 
enlist the sympathies of the poorer sections of the 
peasantry and workers, by confiscating and redistribut- 
ing all the property of the wealthier class, by proclaim- 
ing reductions in the price of food, by promising to 
abolish taxes, by organising trade unions, etc., etc. They 
loot and destroy banks, public offices and foreign estab- 
lishments, but leaving the poorest classes of the com- 
munity undisturbed and encouraged to hope for relief 
from Kuomintang oppression, they succeed, for a time 
at least, in gaining the 1 sympathy of the "have nots" 
in support of this 'Communistic' programme and in 
opposition to the established government. During the 
past year, the agents of the Comintern, Russian and 
Chinese, have greatly added to their influence, not only 
with the c stupid people,' but with the student class and 


C H I N A : The Pity of It 

the younger politicians, by denouncing Nanking's 
failure to prevent Japanese encroachment upon China's 
sovereign rights in Manchuria. Thus the impression has 
been created, and widely disseminated, that the 
Chinese people are turning to Russia for political 
guidance and relief from misrule and that the prospect 
of a Soviet Republic for all China is something with 
which the world must reckon as seriously as with 
Moscow's 'Five Years plan. 5 

This impression, as I propose to show, is erroneous. 
It is partly due to the calculated policy and cumulative 
effect of Kuomintang propaganda (to the furtherance 
of which the League of Nations has more or less un- 
consciously lent itself) and partly to the 1 fact that the 
Press in England and America persistently ignores the 
immutable nature of Chinese politics and the deep- 
rooted forces which determine' their tendencies. But 
before proceeding to examine the nature and record of 
the c Communism' produced in China since Sun Yat- 
sen first allied himself with Bolshevik agents in 1924, 
I propose to refer to an authority who, writing at a time 
of chaotic misrule very similar to the present, explained 
very clearly the symptoms which invariably mark the 
beginning and growth of rebellion in China against 
authority, when ineffectively or tyrannously exercised. 
The writer in question was Thomas Taylor Meadows,. 
a member of H.M. Consular Service, who, in addition 
to being a scholajr and a student of history, was some- 
thing of a social scientist. His book, The Chinese and 
their Rebellions, interprets the conditions of China as he 
saw them at a critical stage of the Taiping Rebellion 
(1856). The following somewhat lengthy extracts are 
quoted for two reasons. First, because the genesis and 

Is There a Red Peril in China? 

objects of the 'Red' forces, which at present control 
certain districts in Southern and Central China, are in 
all essentials precisely the same as those of the Taiping 
armies^ their parade of 'Communism 5 possessing no 
more real significance than the Christianity professed by 
the Taiping leaders. Secondly, in order to remind and 
convince the reader of the important truth that no 
matter what the political professions of its rulers 
the life of the Chinese people follows certain definite 
lines, imperatively determined by the structure' of its 
society. The catastrophic consequences of any visible 
weakening or collapse of the Central authority are 
therefore the same to-day, and will be the same to- 
morrow, as they have been since China's civilisation 
became! static, two thousand years ago. 

In the chapter from which the following passage is 
taken, Mr. Meadows describes the methods of passive 
resistance commonly used by the Chinese people' in 
resisting and checking oppressive measures of misrule, 
and observes that the ultimate efficiency of these 
methods depends on the existence of an authority 
superior to that of the oppressorsy i.e. y the Throne, 
whose punishments eventually fall on all parties. 
Meadows, at that date, could not envisage the possi- 
bility of China attempting to exist without the Throne 
as the rallying point and centre of the Confucian 
system, nor could he foresee that the 1 western world 
would set itself, as a matter of deliberate policy, to 
uproot and destroy the foundations upon which China's 
unity and stability have been so successfully based 
throughout the ages. Assuming the continued existence 
of the Throne, he therefore proceeds: 

"But when the superior authority itself, or its agents, com- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

mits tyrannies, there remains nothing but a resort to farce. 
Even these appeals to force, however, are at first not^ rebel- 
lious movements, but merely local insurrections, having -for 
their ultimate object the death of certain tyrannical man- 
darins. Some few men literally sacrifice their lives j or the 
good of the community; they lead a rising against the 
oppressors. . . . There is neither hope nor thought of over- 
turning the dynasty in these risings; they are in the best^ of 
times not infrequent in China. But when the necessity for 
them becomes very frequent, the people are naturally led to 
think of resistance by force, unaccompanied by the self-sacri- 
fice of nobler-minded individuals. In that case, these same 
men, the very people who are most likely to be the very first 
in incurring oppression by being most prompt to refuse com- 
pliance with tyrannical demands, instead of organising and 
leading some such local insurrection as has just been de- 
scribed, take vengeance as far as they can with their ow% 
hands, and then became outlaws bandits^ or pirates having 
more or less of the sympathy of the public^ upon whom they 
from the first levy blackmail, rather than plunder of all their 
property, as mere robbers would. This is one way in which 
prolonged resistance to the general Government takes place. 
"Another way is as follows: a man, originally a mere thief, 
burglar or highwayman, whose sole object was the indis- 
criminate plunder of all who were unable to guard against 
him, finds it possible, in the state of general apathy to 
public order produced by continued oppression, to connect 
himself with a few fellow thieves, etc., and at their head to 
evade all efforts of the local authorities to put him down. 
As the band increases, he openly defies these authorities, 
pillages the local custom houses and treasuries, levies a tax 
on passing merchandise and a blackmail from the wealthier 
residents, but refrains from plundering anyone outright; and 
while, by exempting the great bulk of the population from all 
exactions, he prevents the rise of a general ill-feeling towards 
him, he, as the scourge of the oppressors^ gains the latent or 
conscious sympathy of all classes. Now, these captains of 
bandits, whatever their origin, do not, it is true, while their 
followers amount to a few hundreds, choose to make them- 
selves ridiculous or to rouse the general Government to more 
serious efforts 'against them, by issuing dynastic manifestos 
or assuming the state of royalty. But when they begin to 
count their followers by thousands, forming <# regularly gov- 
erned force, they declare openly against the hitherto reigning 
sovereign, whom they denounce as a usurper, and from the 
very first, when merely at the head of a small band, no 


Is There a Red Peril in China? 

Chinese acquainted with the history of his country can refuse 
to see in such a man a possible, if not probable, founder of 
a dynasty. 

"The misconception that exists among foreigners in China 
on this subject, and the consequent differences of opinion as 
to whether the various bodies now in arms against the gov- 
ernment are rebels, or mere robbers and pirates, forms an- 
other example of the thraldom in which language holds us, 
and of the confusion and mischief that may arise from mis- 
taking the meaning of a single word. The word in this case 
is tsih,* applied by the Chinese to the bodies of men just 
alluded to. The real meaning of this word is very compre- 
hensive, signifying all persons who set the authorities at 
defiance by acquisitive acts of violence^ and as the object 
which it is swght to acquire may be a bag of money or may 
be the Empire, it follows that this one word is, in fact, equivar- 
lent to the three words, robber, bandit and rebel, but its 
primary meaning is to rebel, rebel and rebellion. 

(( From the above, the reader will be able to see how it is 
that most foreigners in China hav,e fallen into the error of 
ridiculing the Chinese authorities for inducing large bodies 
of men to lay down their arms by bestowing on their leaders 
and older adherents military and naval commissions and by 
dismissing the rest with a little money; for their own history 
and their own codified legislation of 2,000 years' standing, 
makes it impossible for the Chinese authorities to see in the 
tsih anything but what they really are political opponents " 

Needless to say that, from the point of view of the 
law-abiding and defenceless masses, the Red armies of 
to-day are only distinguished from other tsih by reason 
of their superior numbers and organisation; also that, 
by virtue of these and of immemorial tradition, they 
are regarded as thd political opponents of the exist- 
ing government a.nd claimants in posse to the reversion 
of its authority. Needless also to say that the leaders 
who attract large bodies of malcontents and succeed 
in organising them into disciplined forces are men of 
exceptional intelligence and initiative, quite as capable 
as their opponents of perceiving the advantage of a 

* In the mandarin dialect pronounced tsei, 

279 T 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

policy of expediency and of giving to their movement a 
complexion calculated to gain for it the effective sup- 
port of any important foreign Power. In the eyes of 
the! Chinese, expediency of this kind is wholly in 
accordance with the traditions of Celestial statecraft 
means to an end to be discarded whensoever its pur- 
pose has been served. The Bolshevik doctrines and 
institutions proclaimed by the leaders of the Red armies 
in Kiangsi and elsewhere are therefore to be considered 
simply as moves in the political game, no more to be 1 
regarded as evidence of genuine political convictions 
and affinities than the conversion of Chiang K'ai-shek 
to Russian Communism in 1926^ or the professed 
Christianity of Sun Yat-sen and Feng Yu-hsiang. It is 
safe to assert that any generalissimo of Red armies who 
should succeed in overthrowing the Kuomintang 
Government and replacing it by one of his own making, 
would purge it of all Soviet influences as speedily as 
Chiang K'ai-shek himself did, so soon as he found him- 
self strong enough to stand on his own feet. 

By manifesting the outward and visible signs of 
Bolshevism, the leaders of the Red armies have un- 
doubtedly achieved a measure of importance abroad and 
prestige at home, which justifies their political acumen 5 
at the same time, following the example of the Can- 
tonese Kuomintang, they have obtained sinews and 
munitions of war from Moscow. But in all other 
respects, their proceedings conform faithfully to the 
type prescribed by tradition for insurgents against a 
weak or unpopular government. They seek the good 
will of the c stupid people' and the good money of the 
equally stupid 'outer barbarians. 3 With the latter, when 
available, they suborn the forces of the government. 


Is There a Red Peril in China? 

They establish their own Customs stations on the high- 
ways of trade and levy taxes on a scale slightly lower 
than that of the government collectors, whom they dis- 
possess. Thus in Kiangsi, early this year, the Red forces 
were increased by the defection of more than 20,000 
men belonging to General Sun Lien-chun's 26th Army 
Corps^ whose pay was six months in arrears. Large 
sums of money were paid on this occasion by the rebel 
leaders and the army thus purchased, with a propaganda 
department, run by Chinese students educated at 
Moscow, was despatched in the service of its new em- 
ployers to the Kuangtung border. At about the same 
time, one of the Kuomintang generals, named Yiieh 
Wei-chun, was captured by the Reds in South Honan. 
Taken to the headquarters of the 'Soviet' Government, 
he was treated as an honoured guest (the rules of the 
rebel game, as played by the Chinese, conforming faith- 
fully to Confucian principles), but compelled to address 
mass meetings on the evils of Kuomintang 'militarism.' 
Finally, the leaders of the 'Socialist Soviet Republic of 
China/ like Chiang E?ai-shek in 1927, are already busy 
with counter-revolutionists in their own ranks j with an 
eye to the future and the spoils of office, they are con- 
solidating their political position by eliminating doubt- 
ful elements of the *petty bourgeoisie' and other 
opportunist place-seekers. For the rest^ they combine 
these diplomatic and political amenities with highly 
organised propaganda, and with ruthless terrorism 
applied to irreconcilable opponents and to treachery in 
their own ranks. Their assassination branch, under the 
direction of experienced international agents working 
in Shanghai, and lavishly supplied with funds, has 
applied the methods of the Cheka with more than 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

Russian ruthlessness, and frightful atrocities have been 
perpetrated by individual leaders upon landowners and 
merchants notably around Swatow. Nevertheless, in 
spite of the Russian affinities and unpleasant activities 
of Red leaders, and notwithstanding that the growth of 
'Communism 7 is viewed with grave concern, by authori- 
ties as notable as The Times correspondents in China 
or the Chairman of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, 
the truth is that (as at the time' when Meadows wrote) 
public opinion has been misled with regard to the 
fundamental causes and objectives of the "Red" move- 
ment, which is actually a normal and natural result of 
the absence of effective authority in China. 

The movement itself, the forces behind it, and the 
phenomena which it produces, represent, in fact, ideas 
and objectives wholly different from those commonly 
implied by the word Communism} in no part of China 
does there exist a force of opinion capable of creating 
the type of social organisation produced in Europe by 
the economic doctrines of Karl Marx or the political 
principles of Lenin. The Socialist ideas propounded in 
Sun Yat-sen's 'Three Principles' were, like his con- 
version to Christianity, an imported 'article d' occasion,' 
an opportunist faith, unmistakably influenced by his 
personal ambitions and necessities} since his death, his 
formulae for the modernisation of China have been in- 
voked by the Kuomintang for tactical purposes, but they 
have never appealed to the Chinese mind as rational, 
nor visibly affected its political thoughts. The principles 
which determine the workings of a revolutionary or 
rebellious movement remain unchanged. Behind them 
lie the two paramount instincts of Chinese social life, 
i.e., the desire for posterity and that of family enrich- 


Is There a Red Peril in China? 

ment at the expense of other families. The two Chinese 
characters usually displayed on the banners o the 'Red' 
armies mean, in plain English, 'Divide Property/ an 
economic doctrine which has appealed to landless and 
lawless members of every community from time im- 
memorial 5 but the idea of a division of property for 
the benefit of the community^ a.nd not of the individual, 
is one which could never enter the Chinese mind. Every 
Chinese of the 'have-nots' Class, every desperate 
victim of the present anarchy, is a 'Communist/ in the 
sense that he is ready to support any faction which 
promises him a chance of transferring other people's 
property to himself, and the landless survivors of civil 
war, flood and famine are naturally disposed to support 
a "Revolution for the protection of land." But their 
conception of Communistic principles begins and ends 
with the individual and the family. In this sense there 
have always been Communists, and to spare, in China. 

The organisations of Labour Unions and other mani- 
festations of political consciousness, attributed by the 
Soviet's agents to the Chinese proletariat, are explicable, 
like the Communist manifestos issued by Chiang K'ai- 
shek at the instance of Comrade Borodin in 1926, as 
temporary expedients 5 they result from the willing- 
ness of the politicians and war-lords concerned to allow 
those who pay the piper to call these unimportant tunes. 
The sums of money disbursed by Moscow's agents at 
Canton from 1923 to 1926, would have secured 
followers, in large numbers, for any and every creed 
or campaign. When y moreover, it was instilled into the 
minds of peasants and other manual labourers, that the 
Bolshevik gospel meant more money for less work, and 
that refusal to accept it would involve grave personal 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

risks, the popularity of 'Communism' increased by 
leaps and bounds. But the growth of the movement dis- 
plays at every stage the unbroken continuity of purely 
Chinese traditions. 

The "Red Peril" is real enough in China to-day, and 
it will continue to make life a burden and a terror to 
millions, until, in Heaven's good time, benevolent 
despotism in the hands of a strong ruler shall have 
restored China's ancient ways of stability. But the c Red 
Peril' with which the Kuomintang propagandists would 
make our flesh creep, the vision of China's 400 millions 
organised to Communism for Russia's purposes of 
world-revolution, may be dismissed as impossible, for 
thd reason that the intensely conservative race-mind of 
the Chinese has dways been impervious to political 
principles undreamt of in its own philosophy, and that 
it would need centuries to modify this race-mind to 
acceptance of the social philosophy which Bolshevism 




^ "We should treat China with the forbearance, considera- 
tion and respect due to a Power Sovereign in its political 
aspect, but possessing an organisation incompatible with 
absolute equality/' (/. Ross Browne, American Minister to 
China, July 1869.) 

IN the chapter dealing with the genesis and results of 
the Washington Conference, it was observed that the 
resolutions and agreements recorded on that occasion by 
the Nine-Treaty Powers, amounted to a general accept- 
ance of the visionary idea that a nation, unfitted by its 
character and circumstances for representative govern- 
ment, may rapidly become equipped with the qualities 
and political machinery requisite for the successful 
working of democratic institutions. To the powerful 
influence of this idea and of others, equally delusive, 
arising out of it, historians will assuredly ascribe the 
accelerated process of disintegration which has taken 
place in China during the past ten years. At the time of 
the Conference, the vision of an enlightened and pros- 
perous China rapidly emerging from medieval condi- 
tions, as the result of her people's enthusiastic adoption 
of American ideals and democratic institutions, was 
generally prevalent throughout the United States; in it 
were 1 curiously blended the nation's natural pride in 
America's recognised leadership, vaguely benevolent 
sentiments^ and an amazing ignorance of Far Eastern 
affairs, displayed even by the leaders of public opinion, 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

Thus, for example, Mr. Thomas W. Lamont, repre- 
senting the Morgan interest in the International Con- 
sortium, publicly defined America's new policy towards 
China, some time before the Conference, in the follow- 
ing words: 

"China herself has, in the five years of the war, undergone 
great changes. Outwardly, to be sure, she bears an appear- 
ance of disorganisation, but underneath there flows a new 
and powerful current of nationality, a spirit fostered by the 
great and influential student bodies, by many earnest Intel- 
lectuals, former pupils of American missionaries, who are 
now giving their lives to develop China from a people into 
a nation, so that the Powers recognised that it was no longer 
a, slumbering giant with which they had to deal, but one 
waking into a national self-consciousness," 

So strong was the current of this opinion at that time 
that any attempt to draw attention to facts which might 
cast doubts on its wisdom, was foredoomed to failure. 
Washington's political circles were greatly impressed, 
as I had occasion to observe, shortly before the Con- 
ference!, by the presence in their midst of a young Chinese 
lady doctor, who regaled them with "perfectly thrill- 
ing" descriptions of the wonderful progress of the 
Chinese Republic; it was generally waste of time to 
point out that the real and immediate problem of China 
lay in the predatory methods of self-determination 
adopted by the rival political factions and warring 
Tuchuns, or to suggest that amidst the treasons, strata- 
gems and spoils of their unceasing civil wars, there had 
never yet emerged any party or individual leader 
associated with any definite principle or constructive 
policy. American official opinion was irretrievably com- 
mitted to an endeavour to gain the confidence and 
friendship of the Chinese by "liberality in policy and 


A Survey of Realities 

generosity in action." There was therefore no hope, 
pending wiser counsels, of that united international 
intervention which alone could arrest the process of dis- 
integration, actually much more rapid in 1921 than it 
had been in 1911. In its zeal for "generous action," 
the State Department was disposed to overlook the real 
crux of the Far Eastern problem (of which many 
were well aware) to disregard the fact that the in- 
vincible money-lust of the men in power constituted a 
permanent cause of China's national weakness, and an 
insuperable obstacle to the creation of that "stable and 
effective! government" for which the Conference under- 
took to provide "the fullest and most unembarrassed 

As one crying in the wilderness, I expressed at Wash- 
ington the opinion that there could be no hope of per- 
manent improvement in the condition of China, unless 
steps could be taken for the restoration of law and order 
by concerted action of the friendly Powers, and for an 
imposed introduction of those financial and administra- 
tive measures, which would make an effective govern- 
ment possible. I predicted that the Conference, by pro- 
claiming its belief in the policy of benevolent non- 
interference, could only accelerate the process of 
disintegration and add to the grievous burden of afflic- 
tion already borne by the Chinese people. Few will 
de'ny that this prediction has been amply fulfilled. 

In thus adopting a policy which substituted an ex- 
perimental theory for the practical experience of a 
century, the Governments of the United States and 
Great Britain were 1 both to blame, but there was more 
excuse for America than for ourselves. For we,, as an 
Asiatic Power, have 1 sinned against the light, whilst 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

America has had little experience to teach her. Utterly 
misguided though it be, there is nothing really surpris- 
ing in the American attitude^ for, when all is said and 
done, the State Department represents the mass-mind 
of an electorate which knows and cares very little about 
foreign affairs a,nd derives most of its ideas of modern 
China from observance of the only Chinese type which 
come within its ken, the artificial product of Western 
education. True, the inhabitants of the Pacific slope 
have some working knowledge of things Asiatic, but the 
mentality which ultimately determines the actions and 
utterances of the American Government, is that which 
flourishes in the 'Bible Belt' of the Great Mississippi 
plain,a mentality compounded of Puritanism and hustle, 
of simple benevolence and invincible prejudices. There 
is nothing remarkable in the fact that this determinant 
body of public opinion should accept the sentimentalists' 
interpretation of Young China's fervid gestures, and 
regard them as evidence of a new and politically con- 
scious patriotism. In a democracy? as de Tocqueville 
says, there is no time for meditation, and many of the 
Bible Belt's ideas on political economy still emanate 
from an undigested Pentateuch. 

But we, whose forbears builded up the Raj and gave 
the Pax Britannica to Ind, cannot plead ignorance as 
an excuse for the things which we have left undone in 
China, since the Washington Conference. We should 
know, for we have paid heavily to learn, that it is futile 
to Attempt to conciliate the greed or the anger of the 
Oriental. We should know that the masses in China, 
as in India, are wholly unfitted for representative 
government, and that therefore, as the greatest of our 
political economists has said, whenever the constituted 


A Survey of Realities 

authority is suddenly overthrown, "the class of political 
adventurers which contrives to obtain control of the 
machinery of government, will use it solely as a means 
of advancing its own fortunes." Knowing these things, 
we have nevertheless chosen, or been compelled by force 
of circumstances, to follow America's lead down the 
path of sentimental delusions, and despite the ten years 
of humiliating experience, we have continued to stumble 
aimlessly down this path. Even when, in 1925, the 
Cantonese Government made common cause with Bol- 
shevism, in undisguised hostility to Great Britain, we 
persisted in turning the other cheek to the smiter, with 
the inevitable result that the spoliation of British traders 
and murderous assaults upon British subjects soon came 
to be regarded as regrettable, but normal, incidents. If, 
after the unprovoked attack on the British Concession 
at Shameen in June, 1925^ the China squadron had been 
permitted to destroy the Pearl River forts and the 
Whampoa Military Headquarters, the Cantonese would 
speedily have seen the error of their ways and (as we 
subsequently learned) their Soviet instructors would 
have abandoned the field and retired, with loss of 
c face,' to the great advantage of China's best interests, 
and our own. But British policy, left by successive 
Secretaries of State to the 1 direction of the Foreign 
Office, clung to its faith in patient conciliation and 
professed to see! glimmerings of the long-deferred 
dawn even in the 'enlightened despotism' of the 
Kuomintang. After the surrender, in January, 1927,. 
of the British Concession at Hankow to a hostile mob, 
The Times correspondent, describing that irreparable 
blunder, observed that every sign of a conciliatory dis- 
position on our part immediately provoked renewed 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

aggression, whereas a show of firmness produced much 
better results. A hundred years before. Lord Napier, 
invoking all the East India Company's experience of 
the Cantonese, observed that "in every m$tmce y nothing 
but humiliation and failure had ever followed attempts 
to obtain any just and reasonable demand by a show of 
moderation; while vigour and determination had as in- 
variably led to better results. 3 ' Nevertheless, the official 
attitude^ maintained from one administration to another, 
continued to express optimistic belief in the good-will 
and good intentions of the Kuomintang leaders, Sir 
Austen Chamberlain's policy in particular, as I have 
already shown, being very similar in its inspiration to 
that recommended by the 'Hands off China' friends of 
Bolshevism in the Labour Party. The natural result, 
clearly foreseen by the men on the spot, was to en- 
courage the baser Chinese politician, the pro- 
fessional loot-hungry agitators, in a valour of ignorance 
unlimited in its pretensions, and to render the position 
of British subjects almost as precarious and undignified 
as it was at Canton before the war of 1842. 

One of the few concessions to realism recorded in 
the records of the Washington Conference, lay in the 
recognition by the Powers of the fact that there could 
be no hope of a stable a,nd effective government so long 
as China's provincial chieftains continued to maintain 
their vast rabble armies. But the resolution adopted by 
the Nine-Treaty Powers, which urged upon China the 
necessity for a drastic reduction of these armed forces, 
was essentially a pious resolution, unaccompanied by 
any indication of a desire to make its fulfilment a test 
case of the Kuomintang's professed ability to set China's 
house in order. It was received by the Chinese dele- 


A Survey of Realities 

gates^ Mr. Alfred Sze and Mr. Wellington Koo, in the 
academic spirit in which it was offered. They were not 
slow to perceive that in denouncing the wicked 'mili- 
tarism' of the recalcitrant Tuchuns of the Northern 
and Central Provinces, while at the same time ap- 
pealing for protection against the 'militarism? of 
Japan y they were likely to kill two valuable birds 
with one stone. The disbandment of China's rabble 
armies they cheerfully took for granted and professed 
their determination, having abolished them, to estab- 
lish, with America's benevolent assistance, a government 
on Wilsonian principles, one in which "right will reign, 
reason will rule, justice will prevail and happiness will 
be the pursuit of life." But as these vast hordes, per- 
petually engaged in plundering the 1 defenceless 
peasantry, still constitute a major cause of China's 
disorder and distress, it is to consider what 

has actually been said and done in the matter of their 
disbandment since 1922. 

When the Washington Conference met and the 
Chinese delegates claimed to speak in the name of a 
united China, civil war was actually being waged, not 
only between North and South^ but between East and 
West; five super-Tuchuns and seventeen lesser satraps 
had then their armed forces in the field. None of these 
forces were seriously engaged in any regular campaign 
for the assertion of definite political principles} their 
strife was simply the same old struggle, which has 
always taken place, after the overthrow of constituted 
authority, for power and pelf. Prior to the Conference, 
the four-Power financial Consortium had made the dis- 
bandment of these armies, under foreign supervision, 
an essential condition of new loans. At an abortive 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

Peace Conference held at Shanghai in 1919, a scheme 
had been submitted by an ex-Minister of the Interior, 
for a reduction by half of the existing number of troops 
(which he estimated at 1,300,000) at a cost of 200 
million dollars, this money to be borrowed abroad. In- 
cidentally^ he referred to the "Reorganisation" loan of 
1913, as the result of which some thirty army corps were 
alleged to have been disbanded at a cost of a million 
dollars each. The new scheme of 1919, served merely 
to bring to light the f^ct that the Chinese authorities 
were only too ready to borrow money for disbandment 
schemes, but that they were unanimously opposed to the 
effective supervision and audit of loan funds expendi- 
ture j without such supervision, however, it was evident 
that the scheme could only mean new opportunities for 
mandarin "squeeze." It was evident, long before the be- 
ginning of the Cantonese campaign against the Northy 
that no disbandment scheme financed with foreign 
capital could possibly do any good, unless it were accom- 
panied by definite stipulations and united action, in the 
matter of supervision, by the Powers ; but as every 
suggestion of such supervision was denounced by all 
Chinese officialdom as an intolerable encroachment upon 
the nation's sovereign rights, the remedy could not be 
applied by the Powers pledged to non-interference. So 
the rabble armies grew and multiplied and the evil 
plight of the people grew steadily worse. 

The Cantonese forces, aided by Moscow, having de- 
feated their Northern rivals, taken Peking,, and trans- 
ferred the capital to Nanking, the unification of China 
under the Kuomintang Government was proudly pro- 
claimed to the world as an accomplished fact. Follow- 
ing the capture of Peking (June, 1928) the Minister of 


A Survey of Realities 

Finance of the New Government, Mr. T. V. Soong 
(an able administrator who has always recognised the 
advisability of maintaining what remains of China's 
credit abroad) presided over an economic Conference 
at Shanghai at which the question of disbandment was 
discussed. It was there decided to organise a National 
Commission, with a view to reducing the total number 
of armed forces from their estimated total of 2,100,000 
to a maximum of 715,000, employment to be found 
for the disbanded men in various ways, and the cost to 
be defrayed by a domestic loan. At the first official dis- 
bandment conference, held at Nanking a month later, 
Chiang K'ai-shek, as President of the State Council, pro- 
posed certain drastic reductions of regional forces, but 
as all the other military commanders made no conceal- 
ment of their suspicion that this was simply a move in- 
tended to increase his personal power, nothing came of 
it. At the end of the year, sixteen Chinese business 
organisations at Shanghai, headed by the General 
Chamber of Commerce, addressed an urgent memorial 
to the Government, urging the immediate disbandment 
of superfluous troops and the framing of a national 
budget. The memorial recalled the fact that resolu- 
tions to the same effect, adopted by the Economic Con- 
ference in June, had been fully endorsed by Chiang 
K'ai-shek as Commander-in-Chief and by the com- 
manders of all the group armies. 

"During the past few months, though there has been much 
talk of military reorganisation, no actual disbandment has 
taken place, various national and provincial revenues con- 
tinue to be detained and no national Budget has been pro- 
mulgated. Our debts have mounted higher and higher, taxes 
have become heavier and heavier, and still the Treasury re- 
mains empty." 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

As the Shanghai correspondent o The Times 
observed,* the Memorial was an indication of the busi- 
ness community's increasing restiveness under the pre- 
vailing wastefulness and inefficiency of the Nanking 
executive; it was subsequently reinforced by a resolu- 
tion of the native bankers to refuse all further financial 
assistance to the Government until some proof of good 
intentions had been given. 

Accordingly another Disbandment Conference took 
place at Nanking on January ist, 1929, at which all the 
high commanders were present. Its proceedings, con- 
ducted with impressive secrecy, finally produced a 
scheme for disarmament which,, when published on Jan- 
uary 1 7th, was received with general satisfaction as the 
first definite indication of remedial measures. Detailed 
plans were drawn up, with the approval of the war-lords 
concerned, for the abolition of all the independent com- 
mands of the regional forces, these forces to be placed 
under a central Disbandment Commission y operating 
under the direction of Nanking. The idea of the scheme 
was to reduce the army to a strength of 65 divisions, esti- 
mated to cost 192 million dollars a year. All arsenals 
were to be placed under the control of the Central Gov- 
ernment and the manufacture of arms and ammunition 
stopped forthwith. Commenting optimistically on this 
programme, The Times correspondent at Shanghai 
observed that the cost of financing the proposed vast 
undertaking of public works for the employment of dis- 
banded troops presented an obvious difficulty, but 
thought that "the obstacle might be surmounted, if the 
principal generals really mean what they say." 

Even had the 'dominant morality' of the men in 

* December i6th, 1928. 


A Survey of Realities 

power not asserted itself, as it promptly did, the 1 dis- 
bandment plan was manifestly impracticable, without 
concerted measures of assistance and financial re- 
organisation from the foreign Powers. To turn loose 
hundreds of thousands of soldiers in a land already im- 
poverished by banditry, flood and famine, could only 
mean adding to the number of lawless and desperate 
men. The scheme^ however, began and ended as a 
splendid gesture, primarily intended to impress public 
opinion abroad. The only result of the Conference was 
to emphasise the fact that Chiang K'ai-shek's rise to 
power had excited keen jealousy and suspicion amongst 
many of the other commanders and even in the ranks 
of his own following. Within a month after the 
adjournment of the Conference, the Commander-in- 
Chief and nearly all the regional commanders were busy 
recruiting new levies and buying new armaments. 
Another series of desultory and abortive campaigns fol- 
lowed between Nanking and the recalcitrant war-lords, 
most of whom were gradually persuaded to a semblance 
of amity by promises of liberal subsidies from the 1 
Central Government's exchequer. The last of these 
wars, in 1930, was brought to a sudden conclusion by 
the intervention, on the side of Nanking, of the Man- 
churian forces under Chang Hsiieh-liang. But all these 
wars and rumours of war mean money j within the past 
ten years, the Nanking authorities have therefore raised 
two domestic c Disbandment ? loans, amounting to a 
total of ioo million dollars. In the summer of 1930, 
the total number of men under arms, not including 
bandits and Communist armies, was estimated at 
2,500,000, a,nd their annual cost to the nation about 
900 million dollars, or twice the amount of Nanking's 

295 u 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

visible revenues. Since a rigorous censorship has been 
imposed on the native Press, public opinion is debarred 
from expressing its views on this subject,, but there is 
evidence to show that the nation has ceased to cherish 
any lingering hopes of a sincere 1 attempt on the part 
of its rulers to diminish the evils which they suffer at 
the hands of these vast hordes of plunderers under 
arms. If public opinion could find expression, if the 
bitter cry of the' oppressed people could reach the out- 
side world, it would undoubtedly be found ready 
to welcome any and every measure of intervention by 
the Powers which would give them protection from 
robbery under arms and security in their daily lives. 

Writing in the spring of 1930, Hallett Abend, corre- 
spondent of the New York Times, a thoroughly com- 
petent critic, pointed^ out that a$ yet none of these 
huge armies had given any indication of being imbued 
with a genuine nationalistic spirit. All are entirely 
mercenary in their composition, fighting without ques- 
tion on any side their leaders happen to support, and 
the leaders changing their allegiance with bewildering 
suddenness and frequency. Most of the armies are 
chronically in arrears for their pay in other words, 
they are bandit armies, and openly used as such. "A 
Chinese general/' he observes, "who captures a city and 
demands from the citizens a lump sum of money within 
a given time, under threat of turning his 50,000 men 
loose to loot if his demands are not met, is just as much 
a bandit as is a gunman in Chicago. ... In China, a 
Continental area is being terrorised and bled white 1 by 
these super-gunmen, and there is no power nor authority 
that can check their depredations." 

Proscribed by the Nanking Government for his out- 


A Survey of Realities 

spoken statement of the situation, Mr. Abend was com- 
pelled to leave China. In the higher circles of Ameri- 
can political idealism his book, Tortured China, was 
generally regarded as a manifestation of the die-hard's 
incorrigible lack of vision. 

Much more comforting to them were the utterances 
of the Nanking Government's delegate to the Prepara- 
tory Commission for the Geneva Disarmament Confer- 
ence, who solemnly announced that "his Government's 
practical work in the field of disarmament will certainly 
have the technical value of statements by governments; 
it may also have considerable moral effect: his Govern- 
ment was following with sympathy the schemes for the 
federal organisation of States, which economic condi- 
tions and conflicting interests are impelling to fratricidal 
strife." Finally, he drew a picture of present-day China, 
which for cynical audacity has rarely been equalled. 

"China," he declared^ "is a true democracy; it is con- 
sequently peaceful. It has its declaration of the Rights 
of Man, the Three Principles of the People. It knows 
how to fight against war by practising justice. It must 
succour the weak and help the fallen. After many years 
of internal strife, my country has quite recently 
achieved national unity and political stability." 

But in spite of lavish window-dressing of this kind 
and the benevolent optimism extended to Kuomintang 
propaganda at Geneva and elsewhere, there are now 
indications in England and in America of an increasing 
disposition to recognise the realities of China's pitiful 
condition. One hears but little to-day in the English 
Press of the 'patriotic aspirations' of the Cantonese 
faction. The Times, for example, whose faith in the 
good intentions of the Southern Nationalists during the 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

stormy days of 1927-28, was almost as robust as that 
of any American University, has recently had occasion 
to publish reports from its correspondents in China, 
which amply vindicate the accuracy of Mr. Abend's pre- 
sentation of the facts. Thus its 'correspondent in 
China/ well-known throughout the East as a trust- 
worthy and ever-friendly observer, summed up the 
facts of the situation, as it stood at the beginning of 
June^ 1932, in an article which leaves no further room 
for optimism of the kind which had been inspired by Sir 
Frederick Whyte's articles in the same columns four 
years before. After commenting on China's unwilling- 
ness or inability to give effect to the reduction of super- 
fluous troops, as advised by the signatories of the Nine- 
Power Treaty at Washington, he summarises the reali- 
ties of the existing situation as follows: 

' 'There is little doubt that the volume of the foreign trade 
Is diminishing. World depression is having its effect, but few 
will dispute that the biggest factor is internal insecurity and 
excessive irregular taxation, which reduces the export trade 
and consequently affects the purchasing p^ower of the people. 

"Politically, China appears to make little progress. The 
great floods of last summer did not prevent Canton breaking 
away from Nanking and if the menace from Japan has 
brought them together again, there is little cordiality in the 
union, and even now, when the Shanghai situation is not yet 
cleared up, and the future of Manchuria is still an out- 
standing national problem, there are signs of further differ- 
ences, liable to lead to renewed conflict. The North is full 
of troops, whose allegiance can be retained only by lavish 
expenditure. All over China the military commanders are 
looking for means to maintain their forces and any kind of 
combination between them, for this purpose, is possible. 
Jealousy and rivalry are outstanding, and patriotic motives 
are seldom apparent. . . . 

"Education is being starved; the law is effective in opera- 
tion almost nowhere; Communism, after two years of mili- 
tary effort on a large scale to suppress it, is rampant in four 
or five provinces; banditry afflicts nearly every province to 


A Survey of Realities 

an extent never paralleled in history and there is no real 
State effort to better social conditions or improve adminis- 
trative methods. There are extensive plans for reform in all 
branches of the administration, and eager desire by those 
who prepared them to put them into operation, but little 
evidence to show that anything profitable has been done. 
Lack of funds is largely responsible for failure in this respect, 
but behind that there is the plain indication that the leaders, 
inspired by party and personal interest, have been using the 
available resources much more for ephemeral political objects 
than for solid national purposes. The conclusion is irresistible 
that patriotism is still a weak growth, that political and ad- 
ministrative ability is deficient and that the leaders in general 
lack the qualities necessary to the guidance of the country 
out of the utter confusion into which its affairs have fallen. . . . 
"Such is the China of to-day, with which Japan has to deal 
in the future at closer quarters than before. The foreign 
interest in China is very great, for present and potential 
trade^ because of money lent and because of large invest- 
ments in property and enterprise. Foreigners therefore view 
with profound regret the inefficacy of Chinese policy and the 
shortcomings of the statesmanship of recent times. . . ." 

Such, indeed, are the realities of China's present 
situation, and the sooner they are generally recognised 
the better for China and for all concerned. But this 
recognition will b delayed, and its beneficial results 
restricted, so long as the mot d'ordre persists in the 
official world to speak only smooth things; so long (for 
example) as the educative talks about China broadcasted 
by the B.B.C. continue to be confined to speakers who 
are vocationally disposed to emphasise Young China's 
intellectual gifts and to ignore the unrestrained nepo- 
tism and corruption which reduce to futility any and 
every attempt to reform the public service 1 . In. the face 
of the existing grim realities, what good purpose can be 
served by a,n optimistic attitude, based on the merits of 
the Literary Renaissance or the Ting Hsien movement 
for mass education? Nobody who has lived in China 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

would think of denying the existence of admirable 
qualities and excellent intentions to be found in every 
walk of Chinese life; no one denies that occasionally, 
even amidst the present chaos, a 'Model Tuchun' may 
prove his ability and determination to maintain law and 
order a I* orient ale within the limits of his satrapy. 
But no ond with a sense of realities can deny that the 
dominant morality of the Chinese official class, and the 
paramount motive* which inspires it y remain to-day 
what they have always been, and that their results have 
been greatly aggravated since the abolition of the 
authority of the Throne in 1911. 

The devising of effective measures for disbanding 
the regional commanders' armies constitutes one 1 of 
China's major problems to-day, one which must be 
solved before any real improvement in the general 
condition of the country can be hoped for. This, then, 
is the first of the realities to be faced. Another, second 
only in importance in its effect upon the health and 
economic conditions of the people, lies in the enormous 
increase which has taken place during the past ten 
years in the production and traffic of opium. Certain 
aspects of this problem have already been discussed, in 
the chapter dealing with Kuomintang propaganda 
at Geneva, but there are others deserving of notice, 
which go to prove that China's official attitude 1 in the 
matter has no relation whatsoever to the realities of the 
trside, and that the Nanking authorities have tolerated, 
if not openly encouraged, this trade because of the 
revenues which they derive from it. The actual facts 
md statistics of opium-growing, as compiled for the 
China Year Book of 1931 by trustworthy eye-witnesses, 

* Vide supra, quotation from Mallory, p, 25 


A Survey of Realities 

provides sufficient evidence of the lamentable truth 
that, in many districts, and notably in some under the 
direct control of Nanking, opium is grown, not only 
with the connivance of the officials, but often by their 
orders. Prior to the meeting of the Opium Suppression 
Committee of the League of Nations in January, 1931, 
the Nanking Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. C. T. 
Wang, had created a good impression by announcing 
that his Government had promulgated new regulations 
for the inspection of poppy-growing areas by district 
Magistrates and the imposition of fines; but as the Year 
Book figures subsequently proved, and as many later 
reports have shown, the 'fines' are regularly collected by 
the authorities for cultivation which is frequently com- 
pulsory j in other words, they are simply taxes, levied 
under Another name. A report from Wengan, in 
Kueichou, published by the North Chin Herald in 
May, 1932, showed that 70 to 80 per cent of the six 
districts visited by the writer were growing poppy, for 
which the authorities were collecting these 'fines.' The 
estimated revenue derived from opium in Kueiyang 
alone is eight million dollars per annum. 

The cynical insincerity displayed by the Minister for 
Foreign Affairs in this case is typical of the attitude and 
proceedings in regard to opium, not only of the Nanking 
Government, but of every political group that has held 
power in China since the death of Yuan Shih-k'ai. 
Relying upon the complaisance of the friendly Powers, 
China's representative on the League's Advisory Com- 
mission on opium, supported by the American delegate, 
recently carried this attitude to a pitch of audacity which 
finally compelled the British delegate. Sir Malcolm 
Deleyigne, to remind the Commission of certain reali- 


CHINA: The Pity o It 

ties which it had persistently overlooked. The incident 
arose out of a statement made by the Minister for 
Foreign Affairs on the occasion above referred to. On 
the principle of carrying the war into the enemy's camp, 
Mr. C. T. Wang had deplored the existence of an illicit 
traffic in drugs conducted in China by foreigners,, and 
thereafter proceeded to appeal to the Governments 
having colonies in the Far East, to desist from raising 
revenue from their opium monopoly policy: 

"In the South Sea Islands," he said, "there are several 
millions of Chinese residents suffering from the bondage of 
addiction to opium, and the problem there presents a totally 
different aspect. The Colonial Governments of the British 
Straits Settlements^ the Malay Straits, Hongkong, the Dutch 
East Indies, French Indo-China, Macao and Formosa, have 
adopted the Government opium monopoly policy; the greater 
portion of their revenue is necessarily derived from the 
Chinese residents. To them, the Chinese Government are 
helpless in bringing relief. It will, therefore^ be most difficult 
for China to succeed in her task of opium suppression until 
the interested Powers are prepared to make a real sacrifice, 
and, to that end, co-operate with her in the fullest measure." 

The argument, it will be observed, is precisely similar 
to that which ascribes China's failure to reform the 
administration of justice to the handicap of the 'unequal 
Treaties.' In this case, its real nature was exposed by 
the Nanking Government's refusal to send a delegate 
to the Conference on opium-smoking in the Far East, 
which was convened by the League of Nations, and held 
at Bangkok last winter. This Conference was admittedly 
not so successful as it might have been, if the world's 
largest producer of opium had been represented, but it 
might reasonably ha,ve been expected that as China has 
refused to attend it, her delegate on the' Advisory Com- 
mittee at Geneva would refrain from criticising its find- 


A Survey of Realities 

ings. Such restraint, however y would not have fitted in 
with modern China's conception of diplomacy: the 
recommendations adopted by the Conference, for official 
control of the sale of opium in opium-using countries, 
were sharply attacked by Dr. Woo Chi-tsai. But patient 
conciliation has its limits j Sir Malcolm Delevingne ex- 
posed the insincerity of the Chinese delegate's criti- 
cisms, by reminding him tha,t something more 1 than the 
promulgation of regulations is required to put an end 
to the officially encouraged cultivation of the' poppy 
in China, and the notorious connivance of the Chinese 
authorities in the opium traffic. As regards China's 
breaches of her repeated assurances and undertakings, 
reports from all parts of the country indicate that this 
traffic is steadily increasing. Witness the following 
typical extract from a report by a correspondent of the 
North China Daily News, from Luchowfu, in Anhui, 
in May, 1931: 

"A new road is now almost finished extending all the way 
from Anching, the capital of the province, on the Yangtze, 
to Bumpu on the railway. This important road passes 
through a lot of opium country. Your correspondent recently 
took a trip on a bus from Chowhsien to Luchowfu, Anyone 
making this trip while the poppy is in flower would be amazed 
at the magnitude of the opium business so close to Nanking. 
Apparently more than twenty per cent of the^ best agricul- 
tural land in this rich district is devoted to raising opium. 

"From the moment the opium is raised it is the centre of 
a whirlwind of graft. Local bandits or 'bad men' are de- 
manding as much as fifty per cent of the value of the^ crop 
before it even gets to the market town. Next, the provincial 
tax must be collected, together with as much more as the 
district collector can squeeze out for himself. 

"The exceptionally heavy rains this year are reported to 
have ruined a large proportion of the opium crop, and this, 
together with the increasing taxes, will increase the price of 
opium to the consumer. 

"It is to be hoped that this part of central Anhui, so near 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

to Nanking, will soon come in for a little attention from those 
sections of the Government which are said to be interested 
in opium, suppression." 

Let us consider next the realities of the situation in 
respect to the! administration of justice. At the Wash- 
ington Conference China pledged herself to reform 
her judicial system and to bring it into accord with that 
of Western nations, and the Powers, in return, declared 
their readiness to relinquish extra-territorial rights 
"when satisfied that the state of the Chinese laws, the 
arrangements for their administration and other con- 
siderations warrant them in so doing." Apologists for 
the Kuomintang since 1925 have continually declared 
that, by thd compilation and promulgation of new 
criminal and civil law codes, based on Western models, 
China has given proof of her willingness and ability to 
effect the required reform of her judicial system, and 
is therefore entitled to demand the immediate and com- 
plete abolition of extra-territoriality. In so doing they 
necessarily assume' that these codes arey in fact, a 'living 
reality,' despite the fact, apparent to every impartial 
observer, that the prospect of real reforms, effective to 
secure clean-handed and equal justice, either for natives 
or for foreigners, is more remote to-day than it was 
twenty years agoj furthermore, that in the matter of 
arbitrary and illegal proceedings, the Nanking Govern- 
ment continually sets a conspicuous example. Its 
modern courts and prisons, its codes and statutes, re- 
semble its disbandment schemes and opium abolition 
programmes impressive gestures all, and nothing 
more. In practical working they merely go to prove 
that its methods and conception of justice remain un- 
changeably Oriental, and that none of these multi- 


A Survey of Realities 

tudinous codes has any real bearing upon the pro- 
ceedings and judgments of Chinese tribunals. A 
memorandum on the working of the 'modern 3 Chinese 
Courts, issued in January, 1931, by the British Com- 
mittee of Information at Tientsin, supplies detailed 
evidence of a kind which emphasises and illustrates the 
dangers to which British subjects would be exposed if 
brought within the jurisdiction of these Courts as 
defendants. Similar evidence, compiled from a number 
of reliable sources, was given by Mr. Woodhead, editor 
of the China Year Book, in his book The Truth About 
the Chinese Republic,* under the heading of "extra- 
territoriality." The facts need no stressing: it is 
notoriously and incontestably true that life and property 
have never been more insecure in China, or justice more 
conspicuously a matter of human volition, than they 
have become under the Kuomintang regime. Despite 
its unconcealed readiness to yield at the earliest possible 
moment to Young China's insistence in the matter, the 
British Government has been compelled to state dis- 
tinctly (August, 1929) that it would not be 1 safe to 
abandon the "Treaty-port system" and its corollary, 
Consular jurisdiction, until 

"The Courts which administer these laws shall be free 
from interference and dictation at the hands, not^only of 
military chiefs but of groups and associations, who either set 
up arbitrary and illegal tribunals of their own, or attempt 
to use legal courts for the furtherance of their political 
objects, rather than for the administration of equal justice 
between Chinese and Chinese, and between Chinese and 

This aspect of the situation is habitually ignored by 

* The Truth About the Chinese Republic. By H. G. W. Woodhead. 
(Hurst and Blackett, 1925.) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

the propagandists, Chinese and foreign, who assert that 
"the free development of China's judicial and adminis- 
trative machinery" is being hindered by the refusal of 
the Powers to expose their nationals to the risks of 
Chinese justice j but it is one of the realities of the situa- 
tion which is fully recognised, not only by the General 
Chamber of Commerce at Shanghai and the foreign 
communities at the Treaty Ports, but also, indirectly, by 
the political opponents of the party in power at Nan- 
king. Denouncing the dictatorship of Chiang K'ai-shek, 
a manifesto of the Cantonese "Reorganist" party, in 
1930, put the matter rather more? bluntly than the 
British Government had done "Ever since the estab- 
lishment of Chiang K ? ai~shek ? s Government," it de- 
clared, "there have been many cases of illegal murder 
and confiscation of property to satisfy the blood-thirst 
and greed of its corrupt officials." To do them justice, 
the Chinese themselves, rulers and ruled, are under no 
delusions as regards the prospect of making the adminis- 
tration of justice conform to Western ideas of legality. 
No one is surprised or disturbed, for example, by the 
fact that, while the Foreign Minister proclaims the 
efficacy of China's judicial reforms, the head of the 
State sees nothing improper in arresting and imprisoning 
a prominent member of his own Government, without 
indictment or trial, and holding him as a political 
hostage, at his own discretion. No one for a moment 
imagines that, by the promulgation of these modern 
codes, the men in power have forsworn that 'higher 
law/ which entitles them to deal as they may think fit 
with those who incur their displeasure. All of which 
brings us back to the unchanging reality that in China 
indeed, throughout Asia it is not the form of Govern- 


A Survey of Realities 

ment which matters, but the men who administer it 
And because it is in the nature of things that, in the 
upheavals of successful rebellion against constituted 
authority, a good deal of scum rises to the top, it is 
probably true that many of the men who control the 
Government of China to-day, at Nanking and in the 
provinces, recognise fewer moral restraints than their 
predecessors, the officials of the old regime. Writing 
from the capital of Hunan, four years ago, a special 
correspondent of The Times summed up this aspect of 
the situation in a few sentences. "The rulers of the 
country," he wrote 1 "their name is Legion could not 
easily be worse. The people, despairing of justice and 
order, find that violence is the only weapon with which 
to oppose violence, and a whole generation seems to be 
growing up with the motto, c What I want, I take.' The 
only concern of officials like these is to line their own 
pockets during their short stay in power." Referring 
to conditions in the interior generally, he added that 
"the unscrupulousness and venality of the officials and 
the misery of the people make it hard to imagine that 
prosperity and peace 1 are really in sight."* 

To return to the administration of justice. When, as 
a graceful concession, the Mixed Court in the Inter- 
national Settlement at Shanghai was replaced, in 
January, 1927, by the new Provisional Court, which 
forms an integral part of China's judicial system, the 
Chinese authorities were placed in a conspicuous posi- 
tion in which to prove the sincerity of their professed 
intention to conform to Western standards of procedure 

* The correspondent may possibly have had in mind Sir Austen 
Chamberlain's vision of the Nationalist Government "freed from foreign 
domination and thus enabled to devote itself to the single-minded 
service of the interests of the Chinese." 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

and to administer clean-handed justice. The manner 
in which they have availed themselves of this oppor- 
tunity is sufficiently indicated by the unsavoury record 
of the Provisional Court for the past five years. Com- 
menting on its record, in December, 1928, the North 
China Daily News (a journal which cannot be accused 
of any lack of sympathy for Chiang K?ai-shek 7 s gov- 
ernment) observed; "The new order of the Kiangsu 
provincial Government violates the Rendition agree- 
ment at half a dozen points. But it is the future which 
calls for earnest consideration j conditions at the Pro- 
visional Court are becoming more and more intoler- 
able. Experience proves only too clearly that, in the 
present state of politics, Chinese administration is im- 

In a despatch from the Chairman of the Shanghai 
Municipal Council to the Senior Consul, the intolerable 
nature! of the conditions produced by the administration 
of the Provisional Court, and their effect in under- 
mining the safety of life and property in the Foreign 
Settlements were plainly stated. By the Rendition 
agreement, all death sentences passed by the Court re- 
quire to be confirmed by the Kiangsu provincial authori- 
ties. Between January, 1927, and March, 1928, sixty 
death sentences were passed; in only one of these cases 
was the death penalty confirmed, eleven were returned 
for re-trial on frivolous grounds, and of the rest nothing 
more was heard. Small wonder that the record of violent 
crime in 1927 was the worst in the history of the Settle- 
ment. No fewer than 123 persons were murdered, of 
whom 15 were foreigners. Fourteen members of the 
Police Force were killed, and 22 wounded, by armed 
criminals. The increase in all forms of violent crime 


A Survey of Realities 

during the year, as compared with 1926, was 320 per 
cent. The Council's despatch pointed out that, as the 
executive authority, it is dependent upon a properly 
administered judiciary; and that, so long as the pro- 
vincial authorities are in a position to interfere with the 
lawful execution of the Provisional Court's judgments, 
the situation is impossible'. The spokesmen of the 
Kuomintang, with their wonted cynicism, actually in- 
voked the prevalence of crime in the Settlement as a 
fact justifying the immediate retrocession of the 
Municipality to unrestricted Chinese control. Under 
these conditions, matters grew steadily worse, with the 
result tha,t Chinese residents in all walks of life sujffered 
continually at the hands of criminal gangs. An article 
on "Gangsters at Shanghai" and the "unsafe lives of 
Public Men," by The Times correspondent in China 
(April yth, 1931), shows with what amazing audacity 
and impunity kidnappers, gangsters, and other criminals 
have now organised their operations in the foreign 
Settlements. Hd observed that "many men of wealth 
pay heavy fees to mysterious agencies which guarantee 
immunity from molestation, a sinister indication that 
the principals behind the scenes are persons in positions 
of authority"} moreover, he drew attention to the 
highly significant fact that: 

"Those in official positions and others, not officially em- 
ployed, but financially and otherwise connected with official 
circles, do not find it necessary to maintain personal guards, 
and are not subject to the attention of kidnappers." 

In other words, that the criminal elements in the 
Foreign Settlement conduct their operations under what 
amounts to a working agreement with officials who are 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

connected with the inner policies of the Kuomintang, 
and who therefore affect, or determine, the attitude and 
decisions of the local Chinese Courts. 

A recent example of Chinese methods of justice' may 
be cited, to emphasise the truth that, except for pur- 
poses of propaganda, the modern law codes have no 
bearing whatsoever on the realities, nor any influence 
on public opinion. A certain Cantonese merchant. Pang 
Cho-lap, a leader of the local anti-Japanese boycott 
society, was suspected and denounced by the students 
for having imported Japanese goods. The 1 corre- 
spondent of the North China Daily News, who reported 
the case at the end of May, 1931, observed that Pang 
was quite probably mixed up in the wholesale traffic in 
Japanese products, but as he was never brought to trial, 
the charge remain unproven. What actually happened 
was that the students, having obtained his arrest, gave 
notice to the authorities that if he were not brought out 
and done to death before their eyes, they would suspend 
their studies until he had been executed. They had 
arranged to hold a memorial service on May 29th in 
honour of the men of the Cantonese' army who had lost 
their lives in fighting against the Japanese at Shanghai j 
they thought it highly appropriate, therefore, that Pang 
should be put to death on that day, as a fitting sacrifice 
in expiation. The! Government refused to subscribe to 
the students' idea of a Roman holiday, but assured them 
that Pang would surely diej he was duly shot in his 
prison on the 29th. No legally established tribunal had 
cognisance of the case} the prisoner was not confronted 
with his accusers, nor given aid of counsel. "He could 
not quote law in his favour, for the Government made 
no pretence of using the trial methods laid down in the 


A Survey of Realities 

'Code of Criminal Procedure.' " The Government 
authorities sent a communique to the Press, intended to 
convey the impression -that Pang had been in league 
with bandits, but as there was no public trial, the victim 
probably died in ignorance of the accusation. The 
significance of the case lies in the fact that, so far as the 
students, the judiciary, and the general public were con- 
cerned, the Code of Criminal Procedure might never 
have promulgated. 

Every student of political economy is aware that it Is 
futile to look to legislation and particularly legisla- 
tion of foreign origin to produce any rapid modifica- 
tion in the structural character of a people. The realities 
underlying China's conception and administration of 
justice lie deep-rooted in the nation's social system. 
The modern Law Codes, like the New Factory Regula- 
tions or the Public Health Ordinances, remain dead 
letters simply because there does not, and cannot, exist, 
any body of public opinion sufficiently concerned with 
public interests, to make such legislation effective. But 
the most conspicuous and pervasive of all the unpleasant 
realities (there are, needless to say, many pleasant ones) 
produced by China's social system, are the incorrigible 
nepotism and corruption of the official class and of all 
who attain to positions of influence and authority. It 
is a reality which accounts not only for the chronic 
emptiness of the Government Treasury, but for the vast 
fortunes which have been accumulated by the great 
majority of war-lords and politicians who have held 
high office under the Republic. It accounts also for the 
failure of the, Chinese 1 to organise and conduct large- 
scale business enterprises, shipping companies or rail- 
ways, on European lines. It is unnecessary to demon- 

311 w- 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

strate in detail this universally recognised (though 
seldom mentioned) root cause of China's political and 
financial disabilities, or to trace the connection between 
China's social system and the national science and art 
of "squeeze." Suffice it to observe, that this passive 
people, haunted throughout its long history by the 
chronic menace of hunger, has inevitably developed 
acquisitive and hoarding instincts which, transmitted 
through countless generations, have become 1 the ruling 
passion of the race. China's moralists, and therefore 
her rulers, have always recognised, and eloquently 
denounced, this national characteristic. In the matter 
of moral exhortations and fulminations, the Govern- 
i#ent of the Republic conforms to the unbroken con- 
tinuity of classical tradition; Chiang K?ai-shek has re- 
peatedly issued Mandates, announcing the Govern- 
ment's determination to eliminate corruption from the 
public service. On the other hand, one of the most dis- 
tinguished scholars in the foremost rank of Kuomintang 
officialdom, Hu, Han-min, candidly observes that 
"squeeze is in the blood of Chinese officials," and being 
modern in his political ideas, holds that the only remedy 
for it lies in educating the 1 masses to resist its abuses. 
It is a remedy which calls for centuries of organised 
effort; pending its application, we are confronted with 
the undeniable truth that the blood which runs in the 
veins of the; masses is of the same composition as that 
which shapes the ends of mandarins; in other words, 
that the squeezing instinct is as old as Asia and that the 
range of its activities, with the masses as with the classes, 
is a matter of opportunity and impunity, limited only 
in its application by fear that the "squeezee" may be 
exasperated to the point of personal violence. Under 


A Survey of Realities 

the Monarchy, if the wealth of a provincial Viceroy or 
Governor was thought to exceed the limits proscribed 
by a proper sense of the fitness of things, the offender 
was invited to audience at Peking and 'relieved of a 
portion of his unearned increment j but, as I pointed out 
ten years ago,* it wa,s estimated by competent Chinese 
observers at that date that, in the course of the preced- 
ing eight years, the twenty-two Tuchuns and the 
Metropolitan officials between them had accumulated 
sufficient wealth to pay off four-fifths of China's 
national debt. Three years ago, the Christian General, 
Feng Yu-hsiang, in one of his characteristically out- 
spoken moods, expressed his opinion that the increasing- 
corruption of public morals and the nation's financial 
distress were chiefly due to the "heartless officials of the 
present unprincipled Government," whose methods he 
proceeded to describe as follows: 

"Those who handle public funds wax rich, while all around 
them unscrupulous perso-ns fawn on them, so as to divide 
the spoils. . . . The public payrolls are padded to enrich the 
relatives or friends of officials, while military commanders 
pocket the pay of the troops they are supposed to train for 
purposes of national defence." 

Fulminations of this kind cause no flutterings in 
mandarin dove-cots. Feng Yu-hsiang, himself no half- 
hearted squeezer, is well aware that Chinese public 
opinion regards them in the same light as the virtuous 
Mandates of the Government which he thus denounces, 
It would never expect the men in power to regard 
Western innovationsy such as budgets and auditors, as 
practical politics, for the reason that it is the immemorial 
right, and invariable practice, of every mandarin (and, 

* Vide China, Japan and Korea, Chapter V. 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

for that matter, of every son of Han) to put money in 
his purse as fast as he 1 can and by all possible means. All 
Chinese economics centre, au fond y in the eternal ques- 
tion of the food supply j "the enrichment of the family 
at the expense of other families" remains, therefore, the 
paramount motive of Chinese politics. When all is said 
and done y the difference between the activities of the 
mandarin in the matter of illegal taxation, and those of 
the predatory soldiery and bandits, is merely a differ- 
ence of technique. Both emphasise the dominant in- 
stinct of the Asiatic for laying up treasure on earth, and 
^wheresoever the individual rises superior to this instinct, 
tonformity is sooner or later imposed upon him by his 

Such being the reality, it is pertinent to suggest that 
the engagement of foreign experts, whether supplied 
from the League of Nations or elsewhere, cannot pos- 
sibly fulfil any good purpose, unless this aspect of the 
problem be frankly recognised. Hitherto, as witness the 
proceedings at the Washington Conference and recent 
correspondence between Nanking and Geneva, the sub- 
ject has by common consent been delicately avoided, 
with the result that all the many schemes proposed, and 
advisers engaged, to give relief to the afflicted Chinese 
people,, have! failed to effect any improvement either in 
their condition or in the administration of public affairs. 
Sooner or later the truth must be acknowledged, that 
the country's sorry plight is not due to 'militarism,* 
but to the incurable money-lust of the men in power, 
and that no amount of advisers, no matter how highly 
qualified or well-meaning, can check the evils arising 
out of official corruption, unless means can be found to 
invest these advisers with a measure of effective control 


A Survey of Realities 

over the collection and expenditure of public funds. 

This aspect of the question has recently been 
emphasised by the condition to which nepotism and 
corruption have brought the administration of the 
postal service, whose native 1 staff went on strike in May, 
1932. A leader in the North China Herald (26th May) 
described the strike as "an expression of the employees 3 
apprehension at the increasing development of that in- 
security of tenure, from which the Postal Service, as an 
off -shoot of the Customs Service, was for many years 
exempt." The Peking correspondent of the same paper 
observed that the! underlying motive of the strikers was 
"to try and remove the Service from the control of the 
politicians, who^ it is claimed, have been milking it for 
their own benefit, like so many public services." As to 
the! deterioration which has taken place in the postal 
administration under the Kuomintang regime, there is 
no difference of opinion; a former annual surplus of 
one to two millions has been converted into a deficit of 
ten millions. In other words, the Postal Service is 
rapidly going to ruin in the same way, and for the same 
reason, as the national railways. 

The editorial comments of this severely-restrained 
British journal carefully avoid any direct reference to 
the venality of officials, but its reflections in leaders deal- 
ing with the origin of the strike, point to a state of mind 
which has almost reached the limits of polite forbear- 
ance on this subject, The following passages may use- 
fully be quoted, as they present an accurate description 
of the existing condition of affairs, in a region which 
Nanking claims to control, and throw light on its im- 
mediate causes: 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

"The Finance Minister has long given proof of his sense 
of the importance of a reliable civil service to China's pro- 
gress. He has been eloquent in his tribute to the great ser- 
vices of the Maritime Customs and the Salt Department, 
which derive their strength and efficiency from the faithful 
regard paid, on the whole, to the principle of security of tenure. 
The Postal Department was handed over from the Customs 
in a high state of departmental esprit de corps. Its wonder- 
ful work in covering the vast country from the China Sea 
to Tibet, from Canton to Harbin, with an organisation func- 
tioning to the benefit of the people in the midst of all sorts 
of physical and political difficulties, has fully earned its pre- 
servation in the same state as its sister services. 

"Now,, by the pressure of political desperation in search of 
financial aid, the Postal Service is gravely menaced. No 
more sinister portent could appear to demonstrate the rapidly 
deteriorating condition of the Government generally. If the 
Post Office administration is thus attacked, who can say 
where the process will end? Already the inability of the 
Government to maintain its obligations towards its employees 
has been grimly revealed in the unhappy history of the China 
Merchants' Steam Navigation Company. There employees 
and Chinese shareholders alike have good cause to repine 
and to be critical of the Government's sense of duty. Notori- 
ous, too, is the case of the Army. Into the recent fighting 
near Shanghai there was thrown from Nanking a regiment 
to which, before setting out after paying its respects to the 
Sun Yal4en Memorial, its officers had ruefully to announce 
that the Government could not produce the money for the 
soldiers' food. Is it to be wondered at that, on arrival at 
Quinsan, that regiment, sent to defend its fellow-countrymen, 
indulged in looting? It is a waste of breath for the Govern- 
ment to talk of rehabilitation and restoration, if it does not 
take steps to ensure the payment of wages to its soldiers. 
It is equally futile to expect to be able to re-condition the 
administration, if the services on which that administration 
depends are to be undermined by the destruction of their 
continuity of employment and by the introduction into them 
of political nominees who, besides being ignorant of the work, 
are^merely concerned with snatching profits for themselves 
during the time brief as it may be that the service re- 
mains for them to exploit. The present strike is wrong 
utterly wrong but the measures to be taken to end it must 
be framed with due attention to this serious aspect of recent 
Government policy." 


A Survey of Realities 

There is no aspect of the national life in which the 
effect of official corruption is more clearly marked than 
in the failure of the central and provincial authorities 
to prevent or relieve the condition of famine, which has 
become chronic in many parts of the country. Here, be 
it saidy we touch again on the crucial reality the' c<m$ 
causans of most of the ills which afflict the Chinese 
people viz.^ the unceasing pressure of over-population 
on the available food supply. Seldom has this reality 
been more clearly stated than in the Report of the 
American Red Cross Commission, appointed by the 
Central Committee to examine into the causes, relief 
and prevention of famine in China, during 4 the summer 
of 1929. The Commission's Report, dated 27th August, 
1929, constituted^ in effect, a severe indictment of the 
men in power. Its premises and conclusions, accepted by 
the Central Committee, were summarised by the latter 
as follows: 

"i. That this Committee learns with deep satisfaction 
that, as the result of abundant rainfall, conditions in the 
principal famine areas are rapidly improving in so far as 
the restoration of a normal climatic r6gime can promote that 

"2. That the destitution which prevails in the famine areas 
is the cumulative result of the chronic conditions of disorder, 
the crushing exactions of the war-lords, the depredations of 
bandits, the enforced payment of confiscatory taxation and 
the crippling and consequent inability of the railways to 
function beyond a fraction of their normal capacity to these 
was added a severe drought which brought the whole to a 
tragic climax; 

"3. That these conditions do not present a situation which 
can adequately be dealt with by a foreign emergency relief 
agency; hence do not warrant an appeal by the Red Cross 
to the generosity of the American people; 

"4. That Chinese leaders would no doubt give more 
thought to the removal of the causes which impoverish their 
people and bring on such tragedies, if they realised the neces- 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

sity of assuming full responsibility for resulting relief needs; 
any acceptance of that responsibility by foreign agencies 
cannot but retard this all-important result; 

"5. That the American Red Cross is convinced only a wise, 
strong, stable, central government can command the power 
and resources and continuity of policy necessary to lead 
China out of her condition of disorder into a new era of 
peace, security and prosperity; and is further convinced that 
disastrous conditions leading to continued suffering will con- 
stantly recur until such a government comes into being." 

Attached to the Commission's Report are several in- 
structive appendices. In one of these, the reasons are 
set forth which led the American Advisory Committee 
on Famine Relief at Peking to adhere to the definition 
of famine as "a failure of food supply due primarily 
to natural causes." The Advisory Committee, consist- 
ing of missionaries and business men of wide experience, 
realised thafy without the protection of this definition, 
"the relief effort would be launched on a shoreless sea. 
The extent of destitution had no definable bounds. It 
was the result of a multitude of causes, which no relief 
organisation could remove, overcome, or neutralise." 

Then follows a simple, straightforward description 
of "the artificial or unnatural causes which have com- 
bined to play thd leading parts in the story of 
f amine.' " The civil war waged between rival 
ambitious 'generals, 3 each in control of his own per- 
sonal army and greedy for wealth and power. These 
armies, living off the country and ruthless in their rela- 
tions to the population, "sweeping the towns, villages 
and farms bare of everything which an army could use." 
The 'major scourge' of banditry, resulting in the com- 
plete destruction of farm implements and animals." 
"American readers," says this Report, "are familiar with 
the stories of banditry in China. It is doubtful whether 


A Survey of Realities 

these stories convey any adequate idea of the prevalence 
of this intolerable evil."* A petition presented to 
General Chiang E?ai~shek by a Famine Relief Com- 
mittee of Kansuh, stated that 70 out of the 78 districts 
in the province had been ravaged by bandits. Next 
comes the devastating part played by crushing taxation. 
"The generals in control of the provinces have levied 
exorbitant taxes for the support of armies or for per- 
sonal enrichment. In some provinces, these taxes, have 
been ruthlessly collected for several years in advance. 
All of a man's belongings may be 1 seized to meet these 
payments^ if he is unable to pay cash." Lack of trans- 
portation is another unnatural cause of famine: railways 
have been reduced to a fraction of their normal carrying 
capacity by the activities of these armies. Thus, the 
survey concludes: 

". . . it becomes plain that the famine of 1928-1929 does not 
fit into the definition, 'Famine is a failure of food supply 
due primarily to natural causes. 3 On the contrary, natural 
causes here and there have intensified the breadth and depth 
of the destitution which years of civil war and lawlessness 
and general disorganisation have created. Also, it becomes 
plain that the line between normal and famine living condi- 
tions is often imperceptible; and equally plain becomes the 
reason for the wide discrepancies among estimates of the 
famine's extent and severity." 

Finally, the Commission quotes from an article on 
"Population Pressure and the Growth of Famine in 
China," contributed by H. P. Howard to the Chinese 
Economic Journal, which fairly presents the economic 

* "The impression produced by this scourge of banditry on the mind 
of a transient observer, vocationally disposed to benevolent optimism, 
is typically illustrated by the Dean of Canterbury, writing in The 
Times of a flying visit to Kansuh. 'It is easy/ he writes (June 26th, 
1932), 'to make too much of the bandit menace. Bandits are only an 
incident; they do not occupy the whole field; a bigger factor is the 
orderly industrious life of the community/ " 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

conditions of which chronic 'famine' is one arising 
out of, and inseparable 1 from, China's social system, 
Mr. Howard sets forth the basic facts of this,. China's 
fundamental problem, on much the same Malthusian 
lines as I had occasion to present them twenty years 
ago,* with certain valuable additions in the way of in- 
formation concerning the vital statistics of the distressed 
areas, which have attracted special attention and assist- 
ance from foreign countries in recent years. After dis- 
cussing the various methods proposed for the relief of 
famine, he arrives at the unavoidable conclusion that "if 
all proposals which may be regarded as in any way 
practicable were put into operation in the fullest pos- 
sible degree at once, they would not do more than take 
care of a fairly large fraction of the yearly increase." 
Therefore "proposals to avoid the population excess by 
preventive measures go more directly to the root of 
the problem," and he suggests that if the establishment 
of clinics and education in birth control could be carried 
out on a large scale, in combination with economic re- 
forms, "it might be possible in a decade or two, under 
the most favourable political and social conditions, to 
check the steady decline towards famine conditions." 
He recognises the fact, however, that there are at pre- 
sent no hopeful signs of such a general campaign to 
cope with the pressure of population on the means of 
subsistence, and that therefore "the famine' area seems 
likely to include most of China long before the end of 
the present century." He might have added that any 
effort on the part of foreign nations to help and advise 
the Chinese in this direction the only direction from 

* Vide Recent Events and Present Policies in China. (Heinemann, 


A Survey of Realities 

which permanent relief can come is precluded in 
advance by the attitude towards preventative measures 
of the Christian churches (notably the Roman Catholic), 
whose benevolent activities are all calculated to counter- 
act nature's "positive checks" and thus to increase the 
severity of the pressure of population. Therefore, as 
another writer observes: 

". . . famine remains the most effective of all the checks. 
It stalks abroad through the length and breadth of the land. 
Now and again some great catastrophe, such as a flood or a 
drought, increases the number of its victims in one locality 
and the outer world hears of c a famine' in China. But 'the 
famine' is existent in China every day. No sun goes down 
but marks the passing of thousands dead from starvation. 
The numbers of the people must be cut down and if disease, 
war and plague are not sufficient, famine may be depended 
upon to fill up the toll. Herein lies the paramount reality of 
the China problem."* 

In its concluding pages the Report refers to the effect 
of arbitrary and confiscatory taxation, as an important 
contributory cause to the extreme destitution prevailing 
in majtiy parts of the country, and to the famine condi- 
tions which have appeared in a number of widely 
separated areas. "All who have given attention to the 
taxing practices in China^ see in their drastic and com- 
prehensive reform one of the most humane and prac- 
ticable means of lightening the wretched economic 
plight of the farmers." Here again the Commission 
might well have added that no one who has given atten- 
tion to the taxing practices of Chinese officials has yet 
suggested any 'practicable' means of lightening the 
grievous burden of the people, except by measures in- 
volving some form of moral tutelage and financial con- 
trol, imposed from without, during the period requisite 

* From China and the Powers. By H. K. Norton. (New York, 1927.) 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

for carrying out this difficult but fundamentally neces- 
sary reform. 

The conclusions recorded in the Report of the Red 
Cross Commission in 192,9 were confirmed and ampli- 
fied in the following year by Mr. H. S. .Aldrich., one of 
two Americans in charge of the International Famine 
Relief Commission in Western China. His report, 
emphasising the futility of relief work under existing 
conditions, advised a cessation of American support, on 
the ground that most of the money subscribed was being 

In the! words of The Times correspondent in China, 
he attributed: 

". . . the failure of the well-meant efforts of the Interna- 
tional Co'inmisslon largely to the Chinese military and civil 
officials, who at best are indifferent and at worst actually 
interfere with the work. The Commission succeeded in getting 
3,000 tons of grain into Shensi, but says it is the conclusion 
of all those interested that, during the same period,, Feng 
Yu-hsiang's agents took that much grain, if not more, out 
of the province for the use of his troops. In other words, 
benevolent contributors were in effect helping to underwrite 
the present war. 

"Furthermore, Mr. Aldrich expressed it as his belief that 
the physical weakness of the Shensi people is due more to 
opium smoking than to lack of food. Prominent employees of 
the Commission are opium smokers, and definite proofs of 
extensive corruption among them were found, such as holding 
grain for 'private accounts,' and taking commission on trans- 
portation charges. 

"Various counties in Shensi sent agents long distances to 
buy grain, and the grain having been bought could not be 
transported and was resold locally, with the result that only 
a quarter of the funds provided got back to the subscribers. 
The Commission had an elaborate road-building project to 
employ famine sufferers, and recruiting agents on salaries 
were appointed, but in two months, while Mr. Aldrich was 
there, they had not enlisted a single worker, though a living 
wage had been offered. Labour was short because the spring 
harvest was good and the province had been drained of men 


A Survey of Realities 

for Feng Yu~hsiang ? s armies. 

"The famine was not universal in Shensi, but serious^ m 
certain areas, and Mr. Aldrich^ has no hesitation in stating 
that it was mainly due to military depredations, which in 
1926 and 1928 stripped the province of grain and of grain 
reserves. The famine area corresponded almost exactly to 
the main billet areas and lines of march of the armies retreat- 
ing from, and advancing to, the civil wars in the East," 

All these grim realities centre, it will be observed, 
on the basic problems of security for life, and of food 
to sustain it. Their chronic results have been summed 
up by a,n observer already quoted, Mr. H. K. Norton, 
as follows: 

"It is estimated that thirty million Chinese are continually 
attempting to sustain life on less than the minimum^ required 
for subsistence. Thousands of these die daily; yet it is only 
when some great catastrophe such as a flood or a draught 
concentrates millions of starving in one area that we hear 
of a famine in China and are asked to contribute to rescue 
work. Of the famine that is present every day we hear little; 
and the three million or more that die each^year of starvation, 
due to lack of adjustment to changing conditions, are accepted 
as representing the normal mortality of the Chinese people." 

The outside world has little or no conception of the 
depths of despair to which vast numbers of China's 
defenceless peasantry have been brought by the addi- 
tion of tyrannous misrule to the heavy burdens imposed 
by the chronic pressure of over-population. They have 
come to exist, not only under the menace of hunger 
to which the race is inured but under the abiding 
shadow of fear. As it has been throughout the ages 
during similar periods of lawlessness and in the absence 
of effective authority, the people "eat bitterness," re- 
duced to thd lowest depths of silent misery, "The 
sons of Han are far from safety} they are crushed in 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

the gate, neither is there any to deliver them; whose 
harvest the hungry eateth up, and tajketh it even out of 
the thorns, and the 1 robber swalloweth up their sub- 
stance."* Some idea of the pitiful conditions under 
which these simple, kindly-natured people contrive to 
exist, some idea of the grim realities that make 1 up their 
daily lives may be gathered from the remarkably truth- 
ful picture of one typical peasant's life, given by Mrs. 
Buck in The Good Earth, to which I have already re- 
ferred, and from Mrs. A. T. Hobart's description of 
'troubled Hunan' a vision of the life of the common 
people, continually terrorised by lawless troops 
(Within the Walls of Nanking), and especially from 
Mallory's work China, Land of Famine, Seen against 
the! moving background of the life-and-death realities 
which these writers describe, all the incessant talk of 
our intellectuals and philanthropists about educating 
China to become a, modern democracy under free institu- 
tions, becomes of no more 1 significance than the twitter- 
ings of sparrows on the house-tops. 

* Job v, 5, 




"In the firm adherence to principle which distinguishes the 
British character,, lies the only hope of winning and retaining 
the confidence of the Chinese, a confidence which is our best 
ally in all our differences with them.' 7 (Sir George Stantpn), 

BEFORE proceeding to summarise the conclusions which 
may justifiably be drawn from this survqy of the course 
of events in China during the past decade, and before 
discussing the possibility of measures calculated to check 
the process of disintegration and restore the nation to 
orderly government and stability, I think it necessary 
to explain the critical attitude adopted in the foregoing 
pages towards the Westernised Intellectuals of Young 
China and their political Activities. I should be reluctant 
to leave the reader under the impression that this atti- 
tude is inspired by any motive or feeling, other than an 
earnest desire to assist in lessening the burden of un- 
deserved affliction which oppresses the Chinese people, 
for whom I cherish a very sincere admiration and affec- 
tion. As I see it, there can be no other way of re- 
lieving that burden, than by leading public opinion 
in England and America to fuller knowledge and 
a clearer perception of the^ real condition of pre- 
sent-day China j in particular, with regard to the 
disastrous results of the disruptive education which 
has been imparted to Young China since the begin- 
ning of the century. At the same time, I should like to 
make it clear that, in insisting upon the incapacity and 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

the instability of the product of this disruptive education, 
I am not indicting the pupil, so much as those who have 
taught him, and the manner of their teaching, 'Western 
learning,' "per se y need not necessarily unfit a Chinese 
student from becoming a good citizen or an efficient 
public servant. The foreign-educated officials produced 
by Yung Wing's first experimental sending of students 
to America, the men who rose to high office under the 
Monarchy (e.g.. Tang Shao-yi, Liang T'un-yen and 
Jeme Tien~yu), afforded sufficient evidence to the con- 
trary. Chang Chih-tung, and other wise elder states- 
men of the old regime, knew and admitted that the 
nation had everything to gain by the instruction of its 
youth in western science, history and political economy} 
but they and the reformers of K'ang Yu-wei's following, 
realised also that, if this education was to be a construc- 
tive, and not a destructive, force, it must carefully retain 
the basic elements of China's national culture and native 
institutions. They realised, in fact,, that it was vitally 
important to keep continually in mind <( the reservation 
necessary in all things which have for their object im- 
provement, or progress 5 namely, that in seeking the 
good which is needed, no damage, or as little as possible, 
be done to that already possessed."* It was manifestly 
desirable that China should add a superstructure of 
western science to the ancient framework of her House 
Celestial, so that the nation might gradually adapt it- 
self to cope with the new conditions forced upon it by 
contact with the outside world. The tragedy of modern 
China, and the pity of it, arises in great measure from 
the lamentable fact that, since the beginning of the 
century, much of the education of the younger genera- 

* J. S. Mill, on Representative Government, Chapter II, 



tion has been in the hands of foreigners. Many of these, 
well-meaning enthusiasts, have believed, and acted upon 
the belief, that by an abrupt and complete break with 
the past, by ruthlessly discarding the parental despotism 
of the Confucian system and the teachings of the Sages, 
Young China might swiftly attain to mental liberty and 
enlightened individualism} and that the nation would 
thus be enabled to develop "the free institutions of 
a self-governing Republic," Discussing this subject, 
shortly after the birth of the Republic,* I endeavoured 
to show how delusive was the belief that the most con- 
servative race on earth could be suddenly translated, on 
a magic carpet of political formulae, from Asia's middle 
ages to the forefront of European civilisation; at the 
same time, I observed that "the sympathetic optimists 
whose opinions and advice flatter the vanity and en- 
courage the pretensions of the Chinese student class, 
incur a serious responsibility." Already at that date, 
the younger generation was beginning to display, by 
their indiscipline and hot-headed valour of ignorance 1 , 
the inevitable results of an education which encouraged 
them to despise the wisdom of their forefathers and 
to discard their dignified standards of conduct; in fine, 
to cast off that parental authority and the respect for 
tradition which constitute the corner-stone 1 of China's 
social system and the stability of the State. It was not 
possible for any serious student of history and sociology 
to believe that a system of education, thus conceived, 
could bring the educated class to a fitting sense of the 
nation's real needs, or imbue it with the elements of 
wisdom in social and political economics. To-day, it 
has become even more evident than it was in 1912, that 

* Recent Events and Present Policies in China. (Heincmann, 1912.) 

327 *' 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

any education which tends to diminish the authority of 
the country's rulers, and that of parents, can only aggra- 
vate the dangers and difficulties inseparable from a 
period of acute political and economic disorganisation. 
As ha,s been shown, the government of the country, 
even in matters of high policy, is to-day literally at the 
mercy of students and school children. And the tragedy 
of it is, that the 1 ardent educationalists who are chiefly 
responsible for this state of affairs, the enthusiasts who 
persist in the perennial delusion that "it only needs this 
kind of instruction or that system of culture to bring 
society into a much better state," appear to be entirely 
satisfied with their achievement and intent upon increas- 
ing still further their output of high explosive material 
in furthest Asia, Theirs is the proselytising fervour 
which takes pride in disturbing the Apathetic content' of 
Asia's passive non-resisting races, in (uprooting the 
foundations of a civilisation which had proved its en- 
during worth long before the Christian era. lit may 
safely be asserted that a large proportion of those who 
have taken part in the education of the westernised 
section of Young China, have never seriously studied 
the thing which they set out to destroy, that they do not 
possess the knowledge which would enable them to 
appreciate how fittingly the Confucian code of ethics 
represents and epitomises the 1 living but often inarticu- 
late reality of the Chinese race-mind. In their eyes,, it 
is merely pagan j therefore the' process of rapid modern- 
isation, howsoever perilous, must be pursued to the end, 
howsoever bitter. 

Professor Roxby in a broadcast talk on c Teaching 
Young China,'* has fairly expressed the satisfaction with 

* Vide The Listen&v, June agth, 1932. 



which evangelists and educationalists regard the results 
of their well-meant but misguided labour of years. 

"In an earlier talk/' he said, "I described the great influ- 
ence and prestige which scholars and scholarship enjoyed in 
the old historic civilisation of China. But now 'the old order 
changeth, yielding place to new' . . . The customs and con- 
ventions, accepted without question for thousands of years, 
are being challenged on every hand. The huge households or 
joint families are tending to break up and to be replaced by 
'small family' groups of a western size. ^ The young people 
are claiming freedom from the old restraints, to choose their 
own partners in marriage and to act as individuals. I think 
that the cleavage between the older and the younger genera- 
tion is probably greater in modern China than in any other 
country in the world. Age and parental authority no longer 
command that almost unique respect which they enjoyed 
under the old r6gime and the clash between old and new 
loyalties is sometimes very pathetic. It is essentially the day 
of young men, of new movements and experiments of every 

Professor Roxby admits that these 'sweeping changes' 
may bei superficial, inasmuch as they apply mainly to 
the relatively small section which has come into contact 
with western ideas, but it is evident that he shares Mr. 
Lionel Curtis's opinion that "the mere handful of 
educated people who are breaking away from the past, 
are the vital and dominating factor." The pity of it 
is, that this handful, the class to which the Stupid 
people 7 naturally look for leadership, should have been 
encouraged to break away from the past in a spirit so 
impatient of moral restraint, that it has become a serious 
menace to the stability of the State. There can be little 
or no hope of a restoration of peace and stability in 
China, so long as the government of the country remains 
in the hands of this class. 

Even if we assume that China's modern Intellectuals 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

are right when they declare that ancestor worship is 
dead and reverence for parents no longer regarded as 
a sacred duty by the younger generation, it should be 
obvious that the relaxation of the restraints imposed by 
the Confucian code cannot possibly conduce to a better 
state of society, so long as the deep-rooted instincts, in- 
bred in the race by centuries of adherence to that code, 
retain most, if not all, of their primitive force. In other 
words, so long as the procreative instincts of the race, 
expressed in early marriages, unlimited offspring and 
polygamy^ remain unrestrained, the nation's chronic 
malaise of severe economic pressure can never be 
materially diminished; at the same time, the tendency 
to disorder and unrest, arising from this pressure, must 
be intensified by the weakening of those moral restraints 
which formerly served to keep the elements of disorder 
in check. It would therefore appear to be logically in- 
disputable that, if our educationalists aspire to teach 
China a 'new doctrine of life,' if our humanitarians 
hope thereby to bring a c new China 7 into being, and 
our economists to give it a higher standard of living, 
then this c new doctrine of life' must begin with elemen- 
tary education in vital economics. The collective in- 
telligence of the race must be led to perceive that most 
of its disasters and discontents are direct and inevitable 
results of its patriarchal social system. If, by education 
or propaganda of an intensive kind, we could alter the 
outlook of the race-mind, which accepts with equanimity 
an infant mortality of 70 or 80 per cent; if we could 
convince Young China and through it, Old China 
that there is no particular merit in being a grandfather 
at forty the way would be prepared for the birth of a 
new Chinese nation; really new, because freed at last 



from the chief cause of all its suffering and unrest, the 
ever-present spectre of famine. This remedy is neither 
easy, nor capable of rapid application, since it must 
involve a vital change 1 in the state of mind which con- 
stitutes the Chinese type of civilisation and in the atti- 
tude of its vast population towards the problems of life 
and death. Incidentally, also it must involve a radical 
modification, or the cessation, of many of the present 
activities of our religious and educational organisations. 
To persuade a fifth of the human race of the necessity 
for modifying its primordial ideas on life and living, 
would seem indeed to be a desperate venture, requiring 
centuries of painful educative processes; yet, until it is 
done y China's vital problem can never be permanently 
solved, and nature's 'positive checks* of famine and 
disease must continue to adjust the nation's numbers to 
its means of subsistence. All human experience would 
appear to make the prospect of any such solution in- 
finitely remote j nevertheless, as a matter of practical 
politics, it is not wholly inconceivable. For the Chinese, 
although inherently conservative, are a reasonable and 
adaptable race, and, as Borodin's propaganda cam- 
paign proved in 1927, they are not impervious to 
mass suggestion, in any direction which holds out a 
promise of improvement in their material conditions. If 
an organised campaign, starting with the school text- 
books, and advocating later marriages and a reasonable 
limitation of the birth-rate, could be; carried out with 
the approval and assistance of the Chinese educated 
class, as a purely national movement, the masses might 
in time be led to accept such modifications of their 
social economy as would reduce the severity of the food 
problem, without destroying the principle and ethics 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

of ancestor worship. 

For the present, however, the heavy penalties of 
China's patriarchal system remain, greatly aggravated 
during the past twenty years by the unchecked activities 
of the lawless elements that prey upon every form of 
produqtivq industry. Gap of the most discouraging 
features of the situation is, thafy during these twenty 
years of senseless strife between the rival groups of 
political adventurers and warlords, no leader has 
emerged to achieve pre-eminence of the kind which 
would win the respect of the litewti, the goodwill of the 
merchants and gentry, and the obedience of the masses. 
Since the death of Yuan Shih-kai ? there has been no 
figure on the Chinese stage to compare with the great 
Viceroys of the old regime, no commanding personality 
to serve as a rallying point for the law-abiding majority 
of the nation j and the present condition of the country, 
resulting from the cumulative consequences of these 
twenty years of disorder, justifies at every point the con- 
clusion that the nation cannot hope to recover stability 
and prosperity as the result of its own unaided efforts. 
The process of demoralisation has gone so far, that only 
by a benevolent intervention of the friendly Powers can 
final ruin and disintegration be averted. Therefore the 
vital question which confronts the civilised world in 
China to-day is, whether disinterested international co- 
operation for the good of humanity comes within the 
range! of practical politics? Discussing this aspect of 
the problem shortly before the Washington Conference, 
I expressed the opinion* that, given genuine goodwill 
and a self-denying determination on the 1 part of the 
Powers to protect the manifest helplessness of the 

* Vide China, Japan and Korea, Chapter IV. 



Chinese people through- the necessary period of admin- 
istrative reconstruction, there should be no insuperable 
difficulty in restoring law and order, peace and pros- 
perity, throughout most parts, if not all, of the country. 
But the goodwill must be genuinely active and ready, 
without ulterior motives, to co-operate in a common cause 
of benevolence j at the same time the Organised opinion 
of mankind, 5 which found expression in the Washing- 
ton Treaties, must have the moral courage to recognise 
firstly, that the policy of non-interference prescribed 
by those Treaties was illogical and ill-founded j and 
secondly, that the westernisation of China is by no 
means a foregone conclusion. 

Sixty-three years ago, Mr. J. Ross Browne, American 
Minister to China (already quoted in an earlier chapter), 
discussed the already apparent difficulty of reconciling 
the policy of non-interference with the maintenance of 
commercial and other relations with China. In so doing, 
he questioned whether it was 

". . . good policy to proclaim, In the solemn form of a Treaty, 
that we will not interfere in the internal affairs of the Empire, 
when our very presence is an interference; or whether any- 
thing is to be gained by an unconditional admission of the 
right of the Chinese Government to determine the time and 
manner of introducing improvements. , . , 

"China," he said, "is not going either to be seduced by fair 
promises into making concessions repugnant to her established 
policy, or to make them of her own accord. In that respect, 
she has been consistent from the beginning, and so,, I doubt 
not, will continue to the end. Of this we have no right to 
complain. All I contend is that, having forced obligations 
upon her, we must compel her to observe them or recede from 
the position which we have undertaken to maintain." 

As the problem was in 1869, so it remains to-day. 
Quite recently, Mr. Castle, American Undersecretary 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

of State, has supplied a confirmatory footnote to Mr, 
Ross Browne's prophetic exposition of its fundamental 
issues, as follows: 

"A nation which cannot rule itself, must always be a menace 
to the rest of the world. With Japan, England,, and the rest, 
we can only look sadly at the chaos in China. At the same 
time we must always be ready to lend a helping hand. Though 
we must stand aside now, it does not mean that we shall 
allow our nationals in China to be killed or our property to be 
destroyed. No nation has ever forwarded the cause of peace 
by weakness when a moral principle is involved. No nation 
can help build a united and prosperous China by permitting 
the Chinese to destroy the principles upon which international 
society stands. By protecting our own nationals, we actually 
help to forward the aims that we share with Japan and 
England I speak of them because they are most deeply con- 
cerned the aim to help China stand on her own feet, free, 
prosperous, unified and happy." 

The problem to-day lies therefore in the difficulty 
of reconciling the doctrine of self-determination with 
"the principles upon which international society stands/' 
and it is not simplified by the fact that China's history 
during the past twenty years fully justifies Mr- Ross 
Browne's prediction, that self-determination, in her 
case, must mean 'retrogression and a final relapse into 
barbarism.' There is no denying that China was never 
weaker than she is to-day, and that her continued exist- 
ence, as an independent nation, depends entirely upon 
the goodwill of other nations; nor is any good purpose 
served by shutting our eyes to the truth that the process 
of disintegration is rapidly acquiring increased momen- 
tum, as time goes on. Therefore, if there be anything 
of vitality in the ideals which the Anglo Saxon race 
professes, anything dynamic in the political faith of the 
League of Nations, the world's collective conscience 
must face the realities and urgency of the problem and 



set itself to solve it by regarding the Chinese people as a 
c ward of civilisation.' In other words, there must be an 
end of the fetish of non-interference and the friendly 
Powers must devise and impose measures, during a 
period of tutelage^ first for the restoration of law and 
order, and thereafter of the nation's commerce and 
credit. What China needs, before all else, is ten years 
of uninterrupted peace and security, and this she cannot 
possibly achieve, except with material assistance from 
without. The civilised Powers owe it to the unfortunate 
Chinese people to abandon the formula of non-interfer- 
ence and to recognise the' truth that the doctrine of self- 
determination is inapplicable in the case of a people 
which is manifestly incapable of self-government. If 
we admit that the nation's present difficulties and 
dangers are largely due to the creation by the western 
Powers of a new condition of things, to which the 
Chinese were unwilling, or unable', to adapt themselves, 
we must also admit that we owe them, therefore, a moral 
debt of reparation 5 and that debt can only be discharged 
by such concerted action as shall help them to put an 
end to the present disastrous condition of affairs* The 
future of China as an independent State, and as a market 
for international trade, depends to-day upon whether 
the Powers (and more especially America, England and 
Japan) are capable of uniting in a policy of disin- 
terested co-operation for the benefit of the Chinese 
people; in other words, whether there exists a spirit of 
altruistic internationalism sufficiently vital to outweigh 
conflicting national interests and conceptions of national 
security. Considered in the light of current history,, and 
contemporary opinion, it is difficult to discover, in the 
actual relations of the Powers chiefly concerned, good 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

ground for hoping that such a solution of the problem 
is likely to be attempted in the near future. The truth 
stands out clearly, from the history of the past half- 
century, that the international rivalries and jealousies 
which have repeatedly enabled China to escape dis- 
memberment a,nd foreign domination, have also served 
to prevent her from receiving at the hands of any 
single Power that effective aid and guidance, whereby 
the present chaos might have been averted. 'Tis pity, 
but 'tis true, that the Washington Conference policy of 
non-interference, traced to its sources, was inspired and 
dominated by purely national interests. That policy 
having conspicuously failed to benefit China, the world 
now stands confronted with new dangers and difficulties 
in the Far East. The future of China, as Mr. Lionel 
Curtis justly observes, "has now become a question of 
major importance, which cannot be further ignored 
without risk to the whole structure of human society." 
The urgency of the matter has now come to be generally 
recognised, but the 1 measures and methods suggested 
for dealing with it remain one and all pervaded by the 
same reluctance to abandon the shadowy shibboleth of 
'self determination' and to recognise the realities of 
China's parlous state. 

The proposal which at present finds most favour in in- 
tellectual and official circles is, that China's feet should 
be gently set in the way she should go, by experts and 
advisers appointed for the purpose by the League of 
Nations. Apart from the fact that the League, lacking 
Russia and the United States, can carry no weight of real 
authority in the Far East, it has been sufficiently demon- 
strated during the past fifty years that foreign advisers 
can leave no permanent mark on China's administrative 



methods, nor introduce 1 any administrative reforms, un- 
less invested with executive authority and direct respon- 
sibility, more especially in the field of finance. It has 
also been made unmistakably clear since' 1921 that the 
men who rule China to-day will never voluntarily per- 
mit foreign advisers or technical experts to exercise any 
such authority or to fulfil any executive' functions* The 
number of such advisers and experts at present em- 
ployed in various official capacities at Nanking was 
recently stated to be nearly two thousand, but in deter- 
mining the Chinese Government's policy, when dealing 
with the things that really matter (such as disbandment^ 
opium, banditry, etc.), their combined influence is prac- 
tically nil, and was never intended to be more. The 
League's nominees, no matter how distinguished and 
learned, could never speak with authority, for the 
simple reason that their utterances are unsupported by 
effective force in reserve. If, under existing conditions 
of world politics, it is not possible to apply to China, as a 
ward of civilisation, that compromise of the Wilsonian 
conscience which the League of Nations adopted in the 
Mandate system, it would seem that the only means by 
which China can be relieved of her present burden of 
affliction would be for the Powers signatory to the 
Washington Agreements, or the Kellogg Pact, to confer 
together, with or without representatives of the Nan- 
king Government, for the imposition of remedial 
measures. Whether public opinion in America and 
England, too long misled in regard to the real state of 
affairs in China^ can now be persuaded to recognise the 
necessity for such a period of benevolent tutelage, is 
doubtful; but if not ? the Chinese people must continue 
to tread the path of affliction, until such time as further 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

experience leads to wiser counsels. Japan, whose best 
interests are more closely identified than those of any 
other nation with the restoration of orderly government 
and normal channels of trade in China, should welcome 
any and every proposal of concerted action directed to 
that end, unless the wisdom of her Elder Statesmen has 
been definitely subordinated to the aggressive tenden- 
cies of the Military Staff. As for the Chinese, there is, 
I think, no doubt that any measures devised by the 
friendly Powers for the suppression of military tyranny 
and the protection of trade, would have the grateful, 
though inarticulate, support of all the solid elements 
in the country of every class, in fact, except the war- 
lords^ professional politicians and the more turbulent 
element amongst the students. 

Public opinion throughout the' civilised world is un- 
mistakably well-disposed towards the Chinese people; 
the sympathy with their political aspirations expressed in 
the Washington Treaties and other instruments, repre- 
sents widespread and genuine feelings of goodwill and a 
very general desire to see them relieved of their present 
difficulties and dangers. It should not be a task beyond 
the resources of statesmanship for the friendly Powers 
to manifest this goodwill in a combined effort, an inter- 
national 'doctors' mandate/ for the restoration of order 
and security. Assuming, for purposes of argument, that 
American and Japan can overcome their mutual rivalries 
and distrusts, and provide the 'harmonious co-operation' 
of President Harding's vision^ for China's good, the 
application of the most urgently requisite remedial 
measures need not be regarded as impossible, either 
from a military or a financial point of view. Those who 
have had practical experience of the rapidity and ease 



with which the Chinese accept the inevitable, when im- 
posed by competent authority (no matter what its 
origin) will be disposed to concur in the opinion that, 
given clear-cut purposes and the right men to execute 
them, the restoration of normal conditions could be 
achieved throughout most of the central provinces in a 
comparatively short space of time. So far as the masses 
of the people are concerned, the new national conscious- 
ness, which, according to the propagandists who invoke 
it, precludes all idea of foreign intervention, would 
speedily prove to be a figment of the highbrow mind, 
and the! arrogant attitude assumed by Young China 
since 1921, in natural response to the conciliatory defer- 
ence of the Powers, would evaporate with a rapidity as 
dramatic as that which distinguished its first manifesta- 
tions. How little this 'national consciousness* counts 
with China's toiling millions, when weighed against the 
realities of life, was clearly demonstrated when three 
years ago, Wei-hai-wei was restored by Great Britain 
to Chinese jurisdiction. There was no mistaking the 
pathetic and plainly-confessed desire of the inhabitants 
of that leased territory to remain under the British flag, 
nor any doubt as to the sincerity of the apprehension 
which they displayed at the prospect of being restored 
to the tender mercies of their own officials. 

Assuming, firstly, the possibility of a concerted policy 
of intervention; assuming secondly, a refusal on the 
part of the leaders of the Kuomintang to co-operate in, 
or permit, the application of such remedial measures as 
the situation requires; assuming, finally, that after due 
warnings and the expiration of x a reasonable time limit, 
no effective steps have been taken, or guarantees given, 
for the suppression of banditry and the disbandment of 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

superfluous troops, the Powers might proceed to devise 
and apply a definite scheme of concerted operations. 
In other words, they would agree to abandon the 
policy which has deprecated as 'unthinkable/ the idea 
of any intervention other than that of moral support 
and cultural advice. 

The political, military and economic aspects of a com- 
prehensive scheme of intervention, calculated to im- 
prove the conditions of life for a fifth of the human 
race, are evidently matters calling for the mature con- 
sideration of technical experts, prior to a conference of 
the Powers concerned. A brief outline of the general 
principles, upon which such a scheme might be expected 
to proceed, by paths of 'harmonious co-operation 7 to 
fruitful ends of good, may, however, be suggested, 

It being by common consent acknowledged that no 
improvement can be expected to take place in China's 
trade and finances and general condition until effective 
measures have been tajcen to diminish the numbers and 
activities of the armed forces of the rival warlords, the 
first step in any helpful scheme of intervention should 
be an organised plan for the policing of China's rail- 
ways. Such a plan was first seriously discussed by the 
Powers, as the result of the Lincheng outrage, in 1923 ; 
since then, proposals in the same sense have been put 
forward, at various times and from several quarters, 
as offering the best and quickest means of putting a 
stop to the destructive activities of the rival chieftains. 
In the course of a public lecture delivered at Tokyo, 
in August, 1927, Mr. Yoshizawa (then Japanese 
Minister at Peking and subsequently Minister for 
Foreign Affairs) declared that, there being no prospect 
of any improvement in the existing intolerable condi- 



tions of affairs, he foresaw that the Powers would ulti- 
mately be compelled to come to an agreement for the 
temporary occupation a,nd control of Chinese railways, 
a line of action which (before the Military party had 
assumed direction of Japanese statesmanship) un- 
doubtedly represented a carefully considered opinion 
of the Tokyo government, and had probably been dis- 
cussed with other Governments concerned. The idea 
behind this proposal, based on Japan's experience in 
Manchuria, was that the Powers should proceed, after 
formal intimation to the Nanking Government and the 
provincial war-lords, to declare the 1 railways of Central 
China^ and the Yangtze region in particular, *out of 
bounds' for all movements of armed bodies. The 
creation of 'neutral zones' around and about these rail- 
ways, from which all military adventurers and free- 
booters would be excluded, would not call for any large 
military force, inasmuch as united action of this kind on 
the part of the Powers, would have an immediate and 
sobering effect upon the wealthy and essentially timid 
individuals, whose trade is civil warj also because it 
would receive the moral support of all the best 
elements in the country. If, during the necessary period 
of recuperation and reconstruction, the financial adminis- 
tration of the railways were vested (in accordance with 
the procedure prescribed by the earlier loan agreements) 
in the hands of responsible' foreign accountants and 
engineers-in-chief, the lines would rapidly be restored 
to efficient working order and become once more, as 
they were before the revolution, important sources of 
national revenue and promoters of inland trade. The 
cost of maintaining the necessary military railway 
guards and police could easily be met out of the profits 

CHINA: The Pity of It 

of any one of the trunk lines, efficiently administered. 
The railway police would be a Chinese force under 
European officers^ responsible to, and paid for by, the 
Chinese authorities, under a system similar to that of 
the Maritime Customs. Determined opposition on the 
part of any individual warlord, or combination of war- 
lords, might at first necessitate military operations, but 
few who have knowledge and experience of the material 
from which China's modern armies are composed, will 
be disposed to credit more than a very small minority 
of disciplined troops, with the desire or the determina- 
tion to die for political principles on the stricken field. It 
is also conspicuously true, and worthy of consideration, 
that the allegiance of the majority of military com- 
manders is usually purchasable at prices which would 
not greatly disturb the equilibrium of an 'interven- 
tionaP balance sheet. In the event of major military 
operations being required, against the better organised 
Cantonese troops, for example, or the elusive forces of 
the 'Christian General/ it would no doubt be advisable 
to rely chiefly upon air forces, at the same time, cutting 
off all supplies of munitions of war, by occupying the 
mord accessible arsenals and preventing all importation 
of arms by sea. The position of the intervening Powers 
would be greatly strengthened if these measures could 
be taken with the consent, and in support, of the' de 
facto central authority, and it should not be beyond the 
resources of diplomacy to persuade that authority, by 
arguments which appeal to the Oriental mind, to make 
a virtue of necessity, and to discern in the foreigner's 
helpful intervention an opportunity for consolidating its 
own position, together with the restoration of normal, 
prosperous conditions. 



Simultaneously with the occupation and control of 
the railways and arsenals, steps should be taken to sup- 
press the piracy which has infested the South China seas 
of recent years, and played havoc with the native coast- 
ing trade and fishing fleets. It need hardly be said that 
the pirates' chief base in Bias Bay, distant only 65 
miles from Hongkong, would long since have been 
cleaned up, to the great relief of all peaceful mariners, 
had it not been for the protection indirectly afforded to 
them by the Kuomintang's peculiar conception of the 
rights and duties of a sovereign state. If the Powers 
were now to decide to occupy Bias Bay with a small per- 
manent garrison^ there would be an immediate end of 
the plundering of steamships, and the junk traffic would 
be relieved of a menace against which at present they 
have no defence. 

We come next to the question of the disbandment of 
the large! regional forces, those private mercenary 
armies controlled by the various provincial chieftains, 
which are nominally loyal to the Kuomintang r6gime. 
To approach this question in the spirit in which it has 
hitherto been approached by the Powers represented in 
the Bankers 7 Consortium, is manifestly futile* For 
reasons which I set forth ten years ago,^ none of the 
political parties or warlords in China will ever accept 
the financial co-operation of the Powers, unless assured 
in advance that they will be able, as on former occasions, 
to reduce to a dead letter any conditions of a loan agree- 
ment which stipulate for strict supervision over the ex- 
penditure of loan funds, and especially in the case of 
funds borrowed for the disbandment of troops. But 
assuming the effective localisation of these regional 

* Vide China, Japan and Korea, Chapter VI, page 95. 


CHINA: The Pity o It 

armies, by excluding them from all acccess to the rail- 
ways, and assuming that by this means, not only would 
every provincial war-lord be unable to invade his rivals 7 
territories, but that he himself would feel increasingly 
secure from attack, the chief raison &etre for these vast 
hordes of armed men would lose most of its f orce y and 
the lucrative profession of civil war be deprived of its 
chief attraction for ambitious leaders. Troops, to the 
war-lord, are simply the means by which he achieves 
wealth and power. Debarred from the use of the rail- 
ways for his aggressive or marauding expeditions, he 
(being usually a reasonable man) would probably be 
disposed to confine himself, as Yen Hsi-shan has done, 
to the exploiting of his own satrapy. The results might 
well be (as Tang Shao-yi put it in 1920) that many of 
them 'would like to resign, so as to have time to attend 
to their investments, 3 As for the rank and file, the raw 
material of the political adventurers' power, it must 
always be remembered that most of these mercenary 
soldiers (and, for that matter, most bandits) are at 
heart decent, law-abiding men, torn from their families 
and their farms, and swept into the tide of civil war, 
by forces beyond their control. They are soldiers 
d'occasion, not de metier) and given a reasonable pros- 
pect of enjoying the fruits of their labours in peace, the 
great majority would ask nothing better than to be 
allowed to return to their homes and the tilling of their 
fields. Every armed force and every bandit troop con- 
tains, of course^ its proportion of landless and lawless 
men, and the condition of poverty and general unrest 
to which the country has been reduced by twenty years 
of disorder must necessarily intensify for a time the 
difficulty of checking their predatory activities. But 



given control of the railways, and a clearly manifested 
determination to introduce measures of effective dis- 
bandment, beginning with the Central Provinces^ which 
would enable the well-disposed majority to return to 
their homes with a modicum of cash in hand., the chief 
of China's problems would be in a hopeful way towards 
its ultimate solution. 

Finally, we come to the problem presented by the 
large and rapidly increasing hordes of armed men, who 
profess and call themselves 'Communists, 7 and whose 
leaders 7 purpose it is to overthrow the Government at 
Nanking and establish themselves in its place. In the 
chapter which dealt with the 'Red PeriP in China, I 
explained that the Bolshevik doctrines and institutions 
proclaimed by the leaders of thf c Red 7 armies in various 
provinces, should not be regarded as evidence of any 
definitely Communistic convictions or affinities j they are 
simply moves in the political game, played in accordance 
with the traditions of Chinese statecraft, as prescribed 
for insurgents against a weak or unpopular Govern- 
ment.* The manifest inefficiency and disorganisation 
of the Kuomintang administration afford in themselves 
sufficient explanation (and in the eyes of the Chinese, 
justification) for the increasing strength and boldness of 
these rebel and bandit forces. Without a concerted in- 
tervention of the Powers, there is every reason to expect 
that these forces will continue to grow, for all China 
knows that the Nanking Government's manifest un~ 

* The manner in which public opinion instinctively recognises th 
traditional rights to rebellion, and the attitude of the de facto Govern- 
ment towards the insurgents, were curiously indicated in a manifesto 
recently issued by Wang Ching-wei, as head of the Nanking executive, 
Therein he deprecated the bandit armies' lack of patriotism, for not 
having desisted from attacking the Government at a time when its 
armed forces were engaged in resisting those of Japan at Shanghai, 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

willingness to take the field against them in a serious 
campaign, arises from recognition of the fact that any 
weakening of its own fighting strength would immedi- 
ately expose it to a combined attack by its political 
opponents. As matters stand, Chiang K?ai~shek's minor 
campaign this summer, though partially successful in 
clearing the Han river region, has resulted in a con- 
siderable strengthening of the so-called 'Soviet 
Government' position in Hupeh, Honan and Anhuij 
and simultaneously has produced symptoms of increas- 
ing restlessness amongst the free-lance chieftains of the 
Northern Provinces. 

Assuming, however, the possibility of intervention, 
on lines such as I have endeavoured to indicate, the 
same observations hold good, with regard to the 
mentality and purposes of the 1 rebel or bandit armies, 
as in the case of the ostensibly loyal regional forces. 
There is, in fact, little or nothing to distinguish the 
individual military unit, living for his pittance of pay 
and prospects of loot under a Kuomintang Commander, 
and his opposite number in any one of the 1 'Red' armies, 
except it be that the 'Outs' have generally a wider range 
of hopeful expectations than the 'Ins.* But in both 
cases, the great majority of these armed forces consist 
of homeless, famine-stricken peasants, survivors in 
desperate straits from devastated districts, of men, in 
fact, whose chief concern is to keep body and soul 
together and who are ready to march under the Soviet, 
or any other, flag which offers them a chance of so doing. 
The leaders and organisers of these 'Red 3 armies, the 
men who control the Revolutionary Committee and its 
seven sub-committees, include a large number of 
Russian-taught cadets from the Whampoa Military 



Academy at Canton, aspirant officials, for whom no em- 
ployment offered in the service of the Kuomintang, and 
who, like the rank and file, have therefore turned to 
the Red Armies for a livelihood. Finally, the fighting 
capacity of these Red armies has frequently been stiff- 
ened^ and the number of their rifles increased, by deser- 
tions of Government troops during the past two years* 
It needs but little knowledge of China to realise that 
armies thus constituted, would readily yield to persua- 
sion of the right kind, expressed in terms of cash, and 
that most of these 'rebels 3 would be only too glad to 
return to their farms and trades if assured that they 
would be allowed to do so in peace, and with a reason- 
able prospect of immunity from oppression hereafter* 
The business of persuading their military leaders, and 
the Intellectuals who supply the brain power of the 
Red organisation, to transfer their allegiance to the side 
of constituted authority and to hand over their military 
equipment^ would, of course, require delicate negotia- 
tions of the kind to which the commanders of China's 
armed forces are notoriously susceptible. The amount 
of capital required to dissolve the 'Communist* organ- 
isation and eliminate the present Red menace from the 
Yangtze provinces, would in any case be trifling as 
compared with the immediate benefits which the restora- 
tion of law, order, husbandry and trade would confer 
upon the people of this fertile region. The entire opera- 
tion would probably cost less than the Rockefeller 
Foundation has spent in China during the past twenty 
years j once cleared of 'rebels/ the railway guards and 
military police, under competent foreign supervision, 
should be in a position to prevent any recrudescence 
of the bandit trouble on a large scale. For purposes of 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

efficiency and smooth working,, it would probably be 
advisable for the Powers to avoid intervention effected 
by mea t ns of mixed international forces, and to proceed 
upon an agreed system of specific and temporary Man- 
dates, whereby the rehabilitation of each of the principal 
railway zones would be entrusted to the separate care 
of this or that Power, under the general auspices of the 
League (America consenting) and a pre-arranged 
scheme of centralised finance. 

Failing the intervention of the Powers, in some form 
calculated to check effectively the forces now making 
for disintegration, all the facts of the situation point 
to the probability of an early declaration of an inde- 
pendent Northern Government at Peking, controlled 
by the chiefs of the old Anfu and Peiyang political 
groups, and that this move will be followed by a similar 
declaration for the South on the part of the Cantonese 
leaders. The attitude and sentiments recently displayed 
by Chiang E?ai-shek and the 1 Nanking Executive Com- 
mittee, indicate philosophic acceptance, on their part, of 
these Separatist tendencies and of tht fact that the unity 
of the country is a consummation which they can no 
longer hope to impose upon their opponents by force 
of arms. Their declarations to the effect that they will 
in future be content to seek unity by means of persua- 
sion, rather than by military coercion, are generally con- 
strued by the Chinese to mean that, sg long as they 
control the Maritime Customs and other important 
sources of revenue! in the Yangtze provinces, the 
Kuomintang central executive are now prepared to re- 
gard with equanimity the break-up of China into a 
federal system of practically independent states. 
According to Chinese 1 opinion, if the Northerners now 



decide to abandon all further pretence of unity, the 
txUme for this denouement must rest chiefly with Chiang 
K'ai-shek and with the well-meaning but misguided 
foreign opinion which so warmly welcomed the imposi- 
tion of his authority upon the Northy when effected by 
means of armed forces of the cordially-detested Can- 
tonese. Had Chiang K?ai~shek left well alone, they say, 
after he had reached the Yangtzej had his Government 
been content to hold the scales equally between Peking 
and Canton, all might have been well. At is it, since 
the capital was removed to Nanking, the North con- 
siders that it has been deprived of its fair share of 
government posts a,nd revenues, for the benefit of the 
Cantonese. There is no reason to doubt that the North, 
always the centre of gravity of Chinese' policies, would 
heartily welcome the restoration of Peking to the 
dignity of a capital, with or without the South, and that 
its regional troops would now be delighted to serve 
once more under Wu Pei-fu, Sun Chuang-fang and 
other old-time Tuchuns. The Cantonese, on their side, 
have already given unmistakable indications of their dis- 
satisfaction with Chiang K?ai-shek ? s Government, which 
they confidently expected to control^ and (for reasons 
explained in an earlier chapter) their separatist tenden- 
cies are bound to increase, as time goes on, pari $M$SU 
with the increase of wealth and importance of the Can- 
tonese communities overseas. 

If effective intervention by the Powers in the near 
future should prove to be unattainable', these separatist 
tendencies may be expected to produce results of a 
nature to make the present confusion worse confounded 
and eventually to confront the western world with a 
number of new and complicated problems in the Far 


CHINA: The Pity of It 

East, The political leaders of the Northern and Can- 
tonese parties respectively are, no doubt, sufficiently 
astute to defer the definite proclamation of autonomous 
States until the League of Nations' Commission has 
presented its report on Manchuria, in the expectation 
that this instrument may be the means of creating ever- 
welcome dissension among the Powers. But competent 
observers of public opinion, North and South, are in- 
clined to the belief that, if the present chaotic conditions 
are allowed to continue, it cannot be long before all 
semblance of national unity in China is definitely dis- 
pelled. To a,n educated Chinese mind, there would be 
nothing catastrophic, or even surprising, in such a 
denouement, on the contrary ^ it would be in accordance 
with the proverbial saying which epitomises the history 
of the race, "long united, divide j long divided, unite." 
But for the foreign Powers, it would mean a dramatic 
end to the fond hopes and conceptions which found ex- 
pression in the Washington Agreements, and the im- 
mediate necessity for new policies in China, based on 
realities no longer deniable. 

To conclude. Whether China is destined to become a 
politically organised State, within the meaning of the 
Covenant of the League, or to break up into a number 
of autonomous satrapies, remains matter for surmise, 
on the knees of the gods. But the pitiful conditions 
under which the people live and suffer are no longer 
matter for surmise, but stern realities, deserving beyond 
all peradventurei of the dvilised world's active sym- 
pathy and assistance. Whether assistance can possibly 
be rendered^ in such a manner as to alleviate these con- 
ditions, and to inaugurate a period of recuperation and 
reorganisation, must now depend upon the attainment 



of a good understanding and a common purpose of dis- 
interested good-will by the Western Powers, and this, 
in the last resort, resolves itself into the problem of 
reconciling the divergent Far Eastern policies and 
interests of the United States and Japan. In a word, 
the immediate destinies of the Chinese people depend 
upon the sincerity of the civilised world's professions of 
concern for their unhappy state and the^ possibility^ of 
devising practical measures for its alleviation by making 
the ideal of 'harmonious co-operation' a living reality. 




Abend, Hallett, 88 note, 156-7, 


Addis, Sir Charles, 197 
Alcock, Sir Rutherford, 76 
Aldrich, H. S., 322-3 
American Far-Eastern policy: 
Moral guardianship over China, 

8, n 

Challenge to Japan in Man- 
churia, 8, 217 

Safeguarding her interests, 10 
Pacific idealism, n, 25 
Traditions and tendencies, 12-14 
Washington Conference its 

natural conclusion, 14 
Need for overseas trade, 15, 

242, 253 
Sympathy with Young China, 

I6--I7, 21 
Japanese ambitions a menace, 

Delusion as to result of western 

learning, 21, 285-7 
Conception of Chinese based on 

Cantonese immigrants, 26 
Asiatic Exclusion Act, u, 28, 


Lead in missionary effort, 75 
Suppressing Consular reports, 90 
AngeU, Sir Norman, 266 
Anglo-Japanese Alliance: 
Confronting American states- 
men, 13 
On its defence at Washington, 


Termination of, 18, 235, 241 
Nine Powers Treaty substituted, 

Arlington, L. C,, 174 

"Back to Asia' 1 slogan, 145, 258 

Baker, John Earl, 163, 166 


Number and extent, 274 
Method of origin, 278-9 
A scourge, 204, 318-9 
How to be dealt with, 345-8 

Bangkok, opium conference at, 302 

Bartlett, Vernon, 204, 206, 213 

Ban, Joshua, 160 

Bias Bay pirates, 343 

Birth Control: 
For Japan, 261 

For China, 320-"!, 330-1 
Bolshevist influence; 
Rise of "Nationalist" party a 

result of, 24 
On Sun Yat-sen, 52, 56 
On Chiang Kai-shek, 56, 283 
In Kuomintang, 89, 92, 103' 
Propaganda in America, 92, 96 
Influence on text books, 131. 

See under Red Army 
Bonnard, Abel, 172-3 
Borah, Senator; 

Supports Washington Confer- 
ence, 15 
Would aid China to secure real 

independence, 17 
Stimson's letter to, reaffirming 
policy of "open door" and 
sanctity of Nine Power 
Treaty, 13 not, 233, 254 
Borodin, Comrade, 49, 53-5, 60, 

83> 331 

Boxer Indemnity, 79, 107 
British Policy in China; 
At Washington Conference, 8 et 

$tq. 9 287 

American influence on, 18 
1 Tcace-at-any-price" attitude, 


"F.O. school of thought," 176-97 
Promises to China on her entry 

into the War, 190-6 
Policy of Labour Party doc- 
trinaires, 225 
Dictum on abolition of consular 

jurisdiction, 305 
British Broadcasting Corporation, 


Brockman, Fletcher, 99 
Brown, J, Ross, 139, 144, 148, 

285, 333-4 

Buck, Mrs, Pearl S,, 174, 324 
BurKngame, Anson; 
American treaty of 1868, 28, 38, 

China's welcome of Christian 

teaching, 76, 137-8, 142 
Mission to America and Europe, 

137-8. 159 
Bunaah, Chinese in, 28, 39 

CANADA, Chinese immigration and 
subsequent exclusion, 28 



Canterbury, Dean of, 319 note 
Cantlie, Dr. James: Panegyric of 

Sun Yat-sen, 45-6, 61 

Political activities, 21 

Left Wing of "Nationalist 

Government/' 22, 24 
Their influence, 26 et seq, 
Monopoly of emigration, 26,38-9 
Recent predominance due to lon- 
ger contact with the west, 27 
Welcomed in America up to 

1904, 28 

Focus of political unrest, 29-30 
Triumphant northern progress, 

Opposition, to Chiang Kai-shek, 

33> 35 

Supremacy in national affairs, 34 
Cynical opportunism, 35 
Their wealth from overseas, 36 
Inevitable secession, 37, 40 
Their secret societies, 41 

Castle, Mr., 333 

Cecil, Lord, 214-6 

Chamberlain, Sir Austen, 107, 178, 
189, 240-1, 290, 307 note 

Chang Chih-tung, 70, 144, 151, 326 

Chang Hsiieh-liang, 295 

Chang Tso-lin, 239 

Chen, L.T., 169, 171 

Chen, Dr, W. Y., 203 

Chen, Eugene: 
His mission to Tokyo, 36 
Mr, Macdonald's dictum, 217 

Cheng, S. G., 160 

Chiang Kai-shek: 
Cantonese opposition to, 33, 

35* 306 

Bolshevist influence, 56, 280 
His northern expedition, 93, 

104, 349 

Opposition of students, 123 
His ability, iBi 
Failure of anti-red campaigns, 

274, 346 

On disbandment, 293 
Jealousy of rivals, 295 
Mandates against corruption, 3 1 2 

China Merchants Steam Naviga- 
tion Company, 316 

Chinchou-Aigun Railway, 235 

Chou Lu, 54 

Chou Fu-hai, 60 note 

Clark, Grover, 91 

Communism: See under Red Army 

Consortium, 236, 291, 343 

Cook, G. Wingrove, 88 
Cromer, Lord, 185 
Curtis, Lionel: 
Author of The Capital question 

of China, 176 et seg, 
Compared with President Wil- 
son and Sun Yat-sen, 179 
Advocate of dyarchy in India, 

226 note 

On the educated minority, 329 
Justly styles China a question 

of major importance, 336 
Curzon, Lord: 

Said to have initiated Washing- 
ton Conference, 12 note 
Correspondence with Japan 
regarding her interests in 
Manchuria, 237 
Cushing, Caleb: 
Negotiated first American 

treaty, 13 

Correspondence with Ki Ying, 
26, 36 

DELAVIGNB, Sir Malcolm, 301-3 
d'Elia, Rev. Father, S.J., 6r, 63 
Dennery, Prof. M. ( 38, 174 
de Valera, Mr,, 262-3 
"Diehards," 218-9 
Disbandment of armies, 290-9, 343 
Dutch East Indies: 

Chinese immigrants, 38-9 

Opium policy, 302 

Danger of sudden change of 

system, 70, 115-6 
Missionary schools, 78, 107-8 
League of Nations mission of 

experts, 81-3 

TingHsien: Mass education, 299 
Revision of methods advocated, 
See under Students 
Empress Dowager, 115, 146 
Extra-territoriality, 304 

FAMINE Conditions and Relief, 

Federal Council of Churches of 

Christ, 16, 97 
Feng Yu-hsiang: 

Missionaries blind to his back- 
slidings, 86 

And disillusioned, 130 

Coalition with Yen Hsi-shan 
against Chang Tso-Hn, 239 



Profession of Christianity, 280 India, future of, 220-3 
Denunciation of official and Indo-China: 

military corruption, 313 
Shensi Province drained of men 

for his armies, 322-3 
His possible opposition to inter- 
national intervention, 342 
"F.O. school of thought/' 176-197 
Foster, John, m note 

Chinese in, 38-9 
Opium policy, 302 
Institute of Pacific Relations, 99, 
147, 187-8 

Intervention advocated, 37, 332 

GERMAN Rights in Shantung, 16, 


Gilbert, Rodney, 86-7, 90, 156-7 
Gough, Prebendary, 224-7 
Green Die, Sydney, 160 
Grey, Sir Edward, 234-5, 265-4 

HANKOW, surrender of Concession, 

Hawaii, Chinese immigration and 

exclusion, 28-9 
Harding, President: 
Convenes Washington Confer- 
ence, ii, 15, 19 

Vision of harmonious co-opera- 
tion, 338 

Hart, Sir Robert, 138 
Harvey, Col., 18 note 
Henderson, A,, 178, 190, 192, 198 
Hobart, Mrs. A. T., 105 note, 

167-8, 324 
Hodgkin, Henry, 99 
Holcombe, Prof., A, N., 87, 104 

note, 163-5, * 7* 
Chinese owiied, 40 
Opium policy, 302 
Hovelaque, Emile, 81 
Howard, H. P., 319-20 
Hsu, Leonard, 169 
Huang Ch'ang-ku, 53 
Hudson, G. P., 154 
Hughes, Mr. Secretary: 
Ideals of Washington Con- 
ference, ii 
Implications of "open door" 

policy, ii, 20 
Hu Han-min, 35, 199, 312 
Hu Shih, Dr.: 
Writings imply reservation of 

moral superiority, 144 
Exceptional in display of ob- 
jective habit of mind, 170 
References to habit of bribery 
and administrative corrup- 
tion, 249 

IMPEY, Laurence, 252 note 

Ito, Prince, 85, 125 


Expansion on Asiatic mainland, 
8, ii 

At Washington Conference, 8 
et$eq. t 237-8 

Prepared to co-operate in re- 
storing order in China, 19 

"Twenty-one demands," 14, 
121, 235, 248 

Anti-Jap, boycott, 124-5, 310 

"Black Dragon" Society, 227 

Press on anti-foreign text books, 

Prospect of reversion to ancient 

culture, 145 
Apprehension of Red armies, 

Their contact with Russian 

fo.ces, 274 

Should welcome concerted inter- 
vention, 338 
S&& und$r Manchuria 
Jeme Tion-yu, 326 
T esuit missionaries, 155 
"offe, Abram, 52, 56 
'ones, Sheridan, 45 
"udicial Reform, sources of its 
failure, 304 et seq. 

KAKU Mori, 145, 258 

Kang, YoungMll, 172 

K'ang Yu-wei, 70, 115, 151, 326 

Keeton, G. W., 170 

Kellogg Fact, 239-41, 265, 267 

Kemmerer Commission, 208^-9 
Ki Ying, 26, 36 

King-Hall, Commr, Stephen, 187 
Koo, Wellington: 
Skilful exploitation of bene- 
volent public opinion, ao 
Wrongly regarded as represent- 
ing Chinese masses, 21 
Satisfaction at Washington 

Conference, 23, 94 
On disbandment of troops, 290 
Kung, Prince, 76 




Propaganda, 20, jj, ig&etseq, 
Rise to power, 24 
Proscription in Malaya, 41 
Dissolved by Yuan Shih-kai, 34 
Sun Yat-sen propaganda, 43, 


The party programme, 92 
Control of press, 156-7, 199, 296 
Restrictions of liberty, 200 
Propaganda organised, 200 
Influence on B.B.C., 202-3, 2 6 
Influence on League of Nations, 

205-6, 213 et seq. 
Flagrant corruption, 249 
Compilation of law codes, 304 
Anticipated opposition to inter- 
vention, 339 

Would accept federal settle- 
ment, 348 
Kuo Tai-chi, 122 note 

Labour Party: 

On withdrawal of troops and 
surrender of Concessions, 17 

Dominated by doctrinaires, 225 
Lament, Thomas W., 286 
Lattimore, Owen: 

Author of Manchuria, Cradle of 
Conflict, 43 note 

Estimate of character and career 
of Sun Yat-sen, 43, 171-2 

Chinese hostility to, and adop- 
tion of, western standards: 
their hope of survival of their 
own civilization, 142-5, 183-4 

His work careful and accurately 
stated, 163 

Compared with that of Lionel 
Curtis, 174 

A sociological and historical 
study of Manchurian question 

Russia's advance into the East 
and faculty of incorporating 
alien populations, 252 
Latourette, K. S., 106 note, 170 
League of Nations: 

Mission of education experts 8 1-2 

Derided in text books, 132 

Exploited by Kuomintang, 205- 
6, 213 etseq. 

Conception of China as organ- 
ised state, 249-50, 270, 285 

Medical mission and Public 
Health, 207-8 

Opium traffic, 211-4, 302 

Manchurian problem, 233-4, 
249-50, 262 etseq. 

International police force dis- 
cussed, 265-7 

Futility of foreign experts, 314, 

Of no weight, lacking Russia 

and America, 265, 336 
Application of Mandate system, 


See under Lytton Commission 
Legenclre, Dr., 173 
Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, 70, 144, 169-70 
Liang T'un-yen, 114, 326 
Li Hung-chang, 144, 247 
Lloyd, Lord, 219-23 
Lobanow, Prince, 24 7 
Lodge, Senator, 12 
Lou vet, Rev. Father, 101 
Lyall, L. A., 212 
Lytton, Lord, 131, 254 
Lytton Commission: 
Report offers no practical solu- 
tion, 268-9 

Assumes applicability of Coven- 
ant and Pact to China, 269 
International gendarmerie al- 
ready rejected by Japan, 271 
Commission handicapped by 

adherence to Covenant, 272 
Aware that solution of problem 
depends on America and 
Russia, 272 

Macdonald, Ramsay, 176, 217 
MacNair, Prof. H. F. 

See under Morse, Dr. H. B, 

Chinese in, 38-9 
Proscription of Kuomintang, 41 
Opium policy, 302 
Mallory, Walter H., 24, 163, 366- 

7, 300 note, 324 
Malone, Col., 162 
Malraux, Andre* , 173 
Japan's position challenged by 

America, 8, xx 
Outside strict scope of this 

work, 232 
Owen Lattimore's masterly 

study, 232-3 
Confusion at Geneva: case 

before League, 233 
Japanese check to Russian 

ambitions, 234 
Russo-Japanese agreement 



followed by peaceful pene- 
tration, 234 

British admission, of their 
special interests, 234-5 

Japanese veto of Chinchou- 
Aigun Railway, 235 

Collapse of Russia and "Twenty- 
one demands/' 235 

Viscount Jshii's Mission to 
America, 236 

Maintenance by Japa of her 
special interests, 236 

Formation of international 
financial Consortium, 236-7 

Japanese caution at Washing- 
ton Conference, 237-8, 264 

Japanese refusal to allow 
Chinese civil war within 
Manchuria, 239 

Declared independent, 239, 251 

Japanese recourse to military 
force, 238 

Future dependent on American 
acquiescence, 239 

Breach of Kellogg Pact analysed 


Japanese patience and frank 
warnings, 241-2 

Chinese appeal to League 
analysed, 243 

Chinese venality and repeated 
sales by officials of sovereign 
rights, 243-8 

Japanese allege China^ not an 
organised nation within mean- 
ing of Covenant, 249, 270, 284 

America may bide her time, 252 

Prospect of second Russo- 
Japanese war, 252-3 
or second agreement, 253 

American warning to China and 
Japan, 255 

Preservation of China's in- 
tegrity must depend on hr 
own efforts, 256 

Japanese economic necessity 
and unanimity, 257 

Her overpopulation, 259 

Chinese immigration not to be 
stemmed, 259 

Problem a sociological one, 260 

Need for birth control, 261 

See under Lytton Commission 
McKinley, President, 13 
Meadows, Thomas Taylor, 25, 

Michie, Alexander, 77 

Mill, J, S. quoted, 326 
Millarcl, Thomas, 19, 162 

Missionary Factor, the% 69 et $eq: 

Responsibility for China's 
calamities, 72, Br 

Influence on Washington Con- 
ference, 73 

Statistics of workers and con- 
verts, 75-8 

American outnumber British, 

, 75 
Formation of Chinese Church, 

76, no 
Burlingame's nssuranccH of 

Chinese welcome, 76 
Support of Tftiping rebels, 77, 88 
Chinese view of, 77 
Abusive leaflet of 1869, 77 
Stimulus clue to remission of 

Indemnity ,, 79 
Sympathy with Nationalist 

party ^79, 86*7, 96, 103 
Anti-Cnristian movement, 85, 

<J4> 102-3 

Opposition to Yuan Shihkai, 87 
Deception of American public, 


Support of treaty abolition, 93 
Influence of American Boards, 

97r s 

National Christian Council, 
98-9, no 

Abandonment of the field in 
1926, 104-5 

Chinese Government Regula- 
tions, 107-8 

American public opinion en- 
lightened by cinema, in 

Jesuit grasp of Chinese culture, 


Monroe doctrine, 13, 242 
Monroe, l*rof, Paul, 8i 84-5, 102, 

m, 164 

Moore, Frederick, go 
Morrison, Robert, 74-5 
Morrison, Dr., 180 
Morse, Dr. H, B,, 104, 138, 139 

*0<*. ^55 *0fc, 3t5$* 163, 165-6, 

170, 183 

Murray, Prof. Gilbert, 266 
Nanking outrage* 104, 107 
Na Tung, ^48 
New Commonwealth, 265-6 
NisMham Loans, 246 
Norton, H, 1C, 3 

Opium traffic, 209-13, 300-4 



Pang Cho-lap, 310-1 

Pan-Pacific Association, 46 

Peffer, Nathaniel, 79, 83-4 

Perry, Commodore, 1 3 

Philippine Islands: 
Annexation by America, 13 
Chinese immigrants and ex- 
clusion, 28-9, 39 

Postal service deterioration, 315-6 

Powell, Alexander, 19, 160 

Pratt, Sir John, 192, 197 

Press, foreign, its acquiescence 
and timidity, 156 

Railways, policing advocated 340-1 
Rajchmann, Dr. Louis, 213, 216 
Red Army: 273 et seq. 
Japanese apprehensions, 273 
Possible contact with Russian 

forces, 274 
Statistics of, 274 
Depredations & methods, 274-5 
Inspired and directed from 

Moscow, 275 
Denunciation of Nanking's 

failures, 275-6 

Compared withTaiping's, 276-7 
Origin described, 278-9 
Bolshevist doctrines, etc., a 

transient guise, 280 
Their assassination branch, 282 
Chinese incapable of Marxism 

or Leninism, 282 
Labour Unions temporary ex- 
pedients, 283 

"Red peril" only to be put 
down by benevolent des^ 
potism, 284, 345-7 
Reed, Senator, 264 
Reinsch, Dr. Paul, 46, 61 
Reorganisation Loan, 292 
Restarick, Bishop, 44-5, 50-1 
Richard, Timothy, 135 
Roosevelt, President: 
Peacemaker after Russo-Japan- 
ese war, 13 
Foresees American need for 

overseas markets, 15 
Roxby, Prof., 132 not*, 204, 328-9 
Royal Institute of International 

Description of, 100, 179 
Prof, Toynbee's Survey, 170 
Lionel Curtis formerly Secretary 


Precluded from opinions on 
policy, 177 

Influence on F,0. 178 
Biennial Conferences, 186-8 

Shameen Incident, 289 

Peace Conference at, 292 
Chamber of Commerce, 293 
Provisional Court, 307-9 
Growth of crime, 308-10 
Sheng Cheng, 172 
Shidehara, Baron, 238 
Shryock, Prof., 157 
Siam, Chinese in, 28, 38-9 
Simonds, Frank, 11-12, 254 
Singapore, Chinese owned, 40 
Sokolsky, George .,173 
Soong, T. V., 1 8 1, 293 
"Soong Dynasty," 35, 44 
Spencer, Herbert, quoted, 74, 261 
Staunton, Sir George, quoted, 

186-7, 325 

Steed, Wickham, 263-4 
Stimson, Mr. Secretary: 
Letter to Senator Borah re- 
affirming policy of "open 
door" and sanctity of Nine 
Power Treaty, 13 noU t 233, 
Definition of scope of Kellogg 

Pact, 268 

Strother, Rev. Edgar, 91 
Anti-Christian sentiments, 102- 

3, 129 
China's modern, students, 113 

et seq. 
Demand for Western learning, 


Desire to emulate Japan, 115 
Abolition of classical examina- 
tions, 115 
Riotous proclivities, 117, 120-4, 

3^0, 3^5 
Traditional privileged position 

of scholars, 125 
Anti-foreign text books, 128,131 

et sq. 

Writer & admiration and affec- 
tion for, 325 
Sullivan, Mark, 160 
Sun Chuang-fang, 349 
Sun Yat-sen; 

Anti-dynastic activities, 31 
His "Three Principles, 1 ' 34, 44, 

47, 53. 17* 

Already a legendary figure, 42 
Cult and legend of, 43 et seq. 



Apotheosis an ' artificial pheno- 
menon, 44 

Personal magnetism, energy 
and courage, 46 

Megalomania, 47, 49-5 

Japanese assistance and sub- 
sidies, 49, 248 

InfLuencc of his wife and her 
sister, 50 

Relations with Moscow, 51-3, 


State funeral ceremonies, 57 
Nominally Christian, 79, 86, 

130, 280 

His writings, 144 
Attributes loss of rights and 

dignity to Manchu corruption, 

2 45 
His Socialism and Christianity 

opportunist, 282 
Sun Yat-sen, Madame, 50, 123 
Sun Fo; 

Opposed to Chiang Kai-shek, 35 
A modern millionaire, 50 
Schemes for railways and hous- 
ing, 66 

Sun Lien-chun, 281 
Swatow, student outrage at, 124 
Sze, Alfred, 20, 21, 23, 94, 246, 

Tai Chi~tao, 60 note 

Taiping Rebellion, 30, 54, 88, 276 

Tanaka, Baron, 239 

Tang Liang-li, 168-9, 199 

Tang Shao~yi, 35, 114, 326, 344 

Thomas, Albert, 215 

Thomas, Prol, 162 

Townsend, Meredith, 222-9 

Toynbee, Prol, 38, 170, 179, 187, 

Treat, Prof,, 162 

"Twenty-one demands," xai, 235, 

Tuan Chijui: 
Cantonese opposition to, 33 
Compared with Sun Yat-sen, 49 
Accepts Japanese subsidies and 
loans, 247 

Tyler, Capt, W, K, 174 

Tyau, Dr. M, T. *, 160 

Uchida, Count, 269 
"Upton Close/' support of idealist 
policy, 19, 162 

VantlerveUUs Emile, 63 
Venality of officials, 23, 238, 250, 

287, 312-13 
Vinacke, Prof., 162 

Washington Conference, 8 tt $eq. t 
237 &t seq,, 285 et $eq. 

Whyte, Sir Frederick, 100, 181-2, 
197, 205, 298 

Wilhelm, Richard, 173 

William, Dr. Maurice," 53 

Williams, Prof,, 163 

Willonghby, Prof,* 163 

Wilson, President; 
.Repudiated by Washington, 14 
Gave Japan reversion of German 

rights, 1 6 
His sentimental idealism, 19 

Women's League for Peace and 
Freedom, its influence felt at 
Washington Conference, n, 16 

Wang Ching-wai, 92, 144, 168*9 
note, 345 note 

Wang, C. T., 192, 297, 301*2 

Student outrage at, 133 
Desire to remain British, 339 

Wong Chung-hui, 35 

Woo, T. C., 168 

Woo Chi-tsai, 303 

Woodhead, H. G. W., 305 

Wu, Dr. (1 C,, 35 

Wu, Pei-fu, 349 

Wu Ting-fang, 144 

Yardley, Capt., Washington Con- 
ference du to Lord Cur*on, 1 1 

Yen Hsi-slian, 3539-300, 344 
Yen, Dr. W. W,, a 4 6 
Yoshizawa, Mr,, 340 

Young, Prof, C, W., 161, 170, 


Yuan SWh-kai: 
Opposition of Sun Yat-sen, 35 
Tteir opportunism compared 


Attempt upon the throne, 87 
Promotion, of foreignmclucatod 

officials, 114 
The last commanding per- 

sonality, 332 
Ytieh Wei-Chun, 281 

Yting Wing, 164, 326